Ventana Grand Café at The Cumberland in Bournemouth - meeting head chef Matuesz Nowatkowski
PUBLISHED: 09:03 29 December 2014
Matuesz Nowatkowski is the award-winning head chef of the Ventana Grand Café at The Cumberland in Bournemouth. His Modern British style of cooking has earned the hotel 2 AA Red Rosettes for Culinary Excellence
Matuesz started working for Oceana Hotel group, which owns a number of hotels, six years ago. He started as second chef at Suncliff, quickly progressed to head chef at Cliffeside. Three years ago he was promoted to head chef at the Ventana Grand Café at The Cumberland, inheriting 1 AA Red Rosette, and the same year achieving a second Red Rosette.
What was your first experience of cooking? - My mother introduced me to cooking and baking in Poland when I was 12 years old. She was a true inspiration.
What were the smells and tastes of your childhood? - My favourite foods were roasts and hearty stews shared with my family around the table.
What made you decide to be a chef? - I love to eat and I love to cook. It makes me smile when people enjoy my cooking.
Tell me about your journey to becoming a chef? - I trained professionally at college and then at the Carlton Hotel in its heyday. Kevin Wood, who is the Managing Director of The Cumberland has also driven me on to become an expert in Modern British Cooking. This helped us to achieve 2 AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence.
Who are you culinary heroes? - The Roux family, they introduced me to professional cooking on TV and through their books.
What inspires your menus? - The seasons and great local produce, and recreating traditional British dishes with a subtle modern twist.
What are your signature dishes at Ventana Grand Café? - Our luxury smoked fish pie, pan fried duck breast marinated in orange and ginger and our latest smash hit, homemade Steak and Guinness pie.
What’s on the menu this Christmas? - Turkey, of course! Plus all the traditional British festive favourites such as rib eye of beef with Yorkies, loin of pork with bacon lardons and black pudding, salmon with sorrel and tarragon sauce and of course a wonderful veggie Christmas bake. Being by the sea we always have a huge choice of fresh fish on the menu and we excel at classic British winter dishes.
What would be your perfect supper? - I would start with hearty corn chowder followed by some fresh seafood.