Meet the chef: Matt Tebbutt at Schpoons and Forx in Bournemouth
PUBLISHED: 15:07 05 December 2016 | UPDATED: 15:07 05 December 2016
Having cooked in Marco Pierre White’s fiery kitchen, and worked with a stellar cast of culinary names, you know the menu at Matt Tebbutt’s Schpoons and Forx will be something very special and seasonally inspired
After a brief dalliance with aviation, and notching up a degree in Geography and Anthropology along the way, Matt Tebbutt graduated from Leith’s School of Food & Wine. He went on to train under Michelin-starred chef, Marco Pierre White and subsequently worked at a string of high-profile restaurants, including Clarke’s, Alastair Little’s and his own award-winning restaurant The Foxhunter. Matt is a passionate exponent of Modern British cooking, regularly championing fresh, seasonal, locally sourced ingredients on the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and also on the menu at his latest restaurant, Schpoons & Forx at the Hilton Bournemouth.
Tell me about the tastes of your childhood?
As a family we would take our caravan to northern France and eat ourselves silly - snails, garlic, traditional fish soup, pickled mushrooms, amazing fresh bread, picnics on the beach – I loved it all.
What were your early cooking experiences like?
After I read Marco Pierre White’s amazing cookbook White Heat, I wanted to work for him. He made the life of a top notch chef sound dramatic, high octane and sexy! He was certainly interesting to work for, you never knew what would happen next. But I learned so much about high standards and stamina from him. It was a lot like enlisting!
Who were your other main culinary influences?
Sally Clarke was all about seasonality and the very best ingredients...she would reject anything that was “simply not beautiful enough!” Alastair Little was a fantastic mentor. He had a very intelligent approach to ingredients due to his Cambridge background and would research classic dishes before putting them on the menu. Nobody understood Italian food like he did in the 90’s.
What is your own style of cooking?
Modern British, using seasonal and largely British ingredients but with a French or Italian twist, and sometimes further afield. My food is very straight forward. It’s simply a few ingredients, well sourced that sit happily side by side on a plate.
What is your favourite signature dish?
The one thing we can’t take off the menu is the lamb - it reminds me of a posh kebab. We roast a marinated rump of salt marsh lamb in the tandoor, slice it and serve it with a char-grilled flatbread, couscous, pomegranate, mint, parsley and pickled chillies with garlic, yoghurt and cucumber on the side. I love it.
What other combinations are exciting your taste buds?
Now the autumn is here we are roasting game birds in our tandoor oven; that to me epitomises the modern British element of the restaurant - fantastic British game birds, blistered and charred using a traditional Asian cooking oven. Other seasonal treats coming into my kitchen include quince, rabbit, wild mushrooms, apples, pears, cobnuts, blackberries, wet walnuts, warming spices... all these ingredients make this my favourite season.
And your ideal meal?
It would be with my wife Lisa and our kids, Jessie and Henry. We’d have a five hour lunch on the terrace of La Colombe D’or in Provençe which would include a stack of rosè wine and the restaurant’s signature hors d’oeuvres table. Jamie Cullum would be playing the piano and Sean Lock wandering around telling a few inappropriate jokes!
Schpoons & Forx at the Hilton Bournemouth is open daily from breakfast until dinner. Find more at schpoonsandforx.com or call 01202 200187.