Brought up near Malmesbury, Wiltshire – Matthew’s early interest in cooking came from his Mother and Grandmother, food and mealtimes were an important part of family life. Matthew knew he wanted to be a chef from a very young age and his mother’s advice was: ‘whatever you chose to do, make sure you do it well’. If he was going to be a chef he was going to work in the most exciting restaurants and learn from the best. Matthew and Hannah met on the bus heading to Chippenham college where Matt took his chef qualifications, Hannah has been along for the ride ever since.
A newly qualified chef, Matthew spent a short time working locally, before deciding to specialise in pastry at a luxury hotel in Berkshire – the Coppid Beech. Working with Emmanuelle Motte a talented French pastry chef, Matthew was offered an exciting opportunity: to move to Barcelona and work in the Hotel Rey Juan Carlos – an impressive luxury hotel frequented by Spanish royalty and Barcelona football team. Matthew spent a year immersed in the Catalan culture, igniting a passion for travel and food that has never left him.
Heading back to the UK in 1997 Matthew set his sights on the vibrant restaurant scene in London…
Matthew started this part of his career working for Simon Rogan (2 Michelin Starred L’Enclume) at the Milestone Hotel in Kensington; followed by a stint working under Stuart Gillies at fashionable Teatro on Shaftesbury Avenue. Matthew was then chosen to work at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (3 Michelin Stars), which lead to Matthew being part of the team opening Pétrus (2 Michelin Stars) in its original position on St James Street. Matthew worked under Marcus Wareing and Angela Hartnett; in this role he refined his skills and moved up through the kitchen ranks to Chef de Partie.
Matthew and Hannah settled in Bath in 2000, Matthew took a position at the Bath Priory. Shortly after, an exciting opportunity arose when Martin Blunos offered Matthew the chance to take the Head Chef role at Dukes Hotel on Great Pultney Street. Working closely with 2 Michelin starred chef Blunos, Matthew learnt to run a kitchen team and create exciting and dynamic menus.
Looking further afield for new inspiration, Hannah and Matthew decided to take the leap and head to Australia. Sydney beckoned and Matthew spent time working in the world-famous Tetsuya’s and MG Garage and then some time in Melbourne working at Circa in trendy St Kilda. The innovative, multi-culturally diverse yet relaxed style of dining in Australia made quite an impression on them both.
Home and family were calling Matthew and Hannah back to the UK. Matthew took the role of Head Chef at the Calcot Manor’s conservatory restaurant, after settling in Nailsworth the couple happily welcomed a baby daughter into the world.
A chance encounter led Matthew and Hannah to a restaurant that was called ‘Mad Hatter’s’ Restaurant on Cossack Square in Nailsworth, a quirky organic restaurant with a strong local reputation. In November 2007 Matthew and Hannah took over and re-opened as Wild Garlic Restaurant & Rooms.
A labour of love – Matthew and Hannah have worked tirelessly to create a restaurant that uses elements of all the things that have inspired them through their journey together. Wild Garlic embodies their passionate beliefs about food, with only sustainably sourced fish on the menu and plenty of local produce on offer from local growers, butchers and food producers.
Now in their 14th year, with a further two beautiful girls to complete their family of five, Matthew and Hannah have cemented their reputation in the foodie town of Nailsworth. Within the first three months of opening, Wild Garlic was awarded 2 AA rosettes, they now have four gold stars for their rooms. Sister restaurant Wilder opened in November of 2017 and Matthew and Hannah recently celebrated being awarded three AA rosettes.