Formerly of the Michelin rated South Lodge Hotel

Matt has worked his way through some of the country’s best restaurants

He now heads up Pike and Pine in Brighton; focusing on tastes, flavours, temperature and textures to create food experiences rather than just meals.

Matt Gillan, Head Chef Pike and Pine

Award winning Matt Gillain

Matt left the The Pass restaurant in April 2016, after helping to achieve a Michelin Star and 4 AA Rosettes for the 22 cover venue located in The South Lodge Hotel near Horsham. He also worked closely with Masterchef Winner, Steven Edwards who has opened a new fine dining restaurant in Hove called Etch. Matt has become a household name after appearing on the TV Show ‘Great British Menu’ in series 8 and 10, with his main course being chosen for the main banquet at the end of the show in series 10.

We spoke to Matt about his cheffing quirks…

Which is your favourite restaurant in Brighton and why?

I do enjoy going to Cote and Nandos. Not just for adequately accommodating the little ones, but also the fact you can just get on with eating. Lots.

Which is your favourite food to work with?

I really enjoy using humble ingredients as the star of a dish. Leeks, cauliflowers and beetroot interest me as they require a little bit more love and attention to really make them stand out. Its also a great way of showcasing what can be done with something quite basic. Because of the familiarity with the ingredient, there’s an expectation the experience will be a little under whelming. So when an onion turns up in front of you in 7/8 different forms, the expectation has then been exceeded.

Beet root

Before you became a chef, did you think that’s what you would be doing or something else?

I had no intention of becoming a chef whilst growing up. I was always into art and design and thought it would lead me into graphic design of some description. Whilst working weekends washing up in a pub, I was given the opportunity to help the chefs. From here I didn’t look back. I loved (and still love) the creative element to cooking, the rush of a busy service and the satisfaction of finishing the clean down at the end of day.

Best piece of advice you would give a home enthusiast?

Invest in the best equipment you can afford. It will make the job so much easier and less frustrating. Plan ahead with your dish if its quite involved or you are showing off at a dinner party. Play with your food!! Use recipes as a guide. Don’t be afraid to substitute an ingredient if you don’t have it.

Funniest kitchen incident?

When I was at Midsummer House we had a pastry chef, Elwyn, that had long hair. Daniel was talking to him about shaving it off. I jumped in saying’ He’d never cut his hair that short. SO a bet began. I bet Elwyn wouldn’t shave his head. Daniel bet he would shave his head.

The next day Elwyn came in with a freshly shaved head!!!

The punishment for losing the bet? A naked run from the restaurant, across Midsummer common to the public toilets and back again at 7am the next day.

Lesson learnt – never bet with a chef!