How the bounty of the hedgerow harvest helps boost the menu at StMichael’s Restaurant in the beautiful village of Painswick.
Chef/Owner Matt Black, St Michaels Bistro, serving up ‘Puppy Dog
What made you get into cooking?
My parents instilled in me a love for food. My father taught me to cook from an early age, though my mother did most of the cooking. She showed me the importance of enjoying what I’m doing.
Where did you train?
I have learned from many different chefs in many different places. There has been nowhere renowned, but I’ve always worked in good kitchens.
How would you describe your approach for food?
Simplicity is best, and I enjoy what I’m doing.
Is your personality reflected in your food?
To a certain extent.
Best cooking tip for a novice?
Pay close attention to what you are doing, to your ingredients, to the recipe. Care and attention make good food.
What is your most memorable meal?
Two meals stand out.
A meal at Le Champignon Sauvage (a fantastic Moroccan spiced soup as an amuse bouche, then snail risotto, chump of lamb with liquorice, black pepper crème Fraiche parfait). It opened my eyes to top quality cooking. I didn’t know food could be so incredibly accomplished.
And the other meal was a slice of garlic toast with a tomato ketchup smiley face that my future wife cooked for me on our first ever morning after. Just as memorable.
What are your predictions for the next food trend?
That another food trend will quickly overtake it.
Tell us about your menu:
Our menu is seasonal and always sourced from local producers and suppliers. It is modern British in style but using French techniques and recipes from all over the world.
What’s your signature dish?
We don’t have a signature dish; we are just cooking good food using seasonal products.
What local products do you value most?
Wild food (hedgerow harvest; it is free, it is plentiful, and Sue Jollans’ multitude of children enjoy picking everything from crab apples to wild garlic for us).
What is your favourite Cotswold Ingredient?
Wild garlic and mushrooms from the forest (cep, when they can be found, are an incredible boost for our menu).
What’s your favourite food to cook with?
Fish because of the incredible variety. We are an island nation with an unrivalled diversity of seafood on our doorstep.
Why should people visit you?
St Michael’s is a beautiful restaurant in a lovely village with good food and friendly staff.