Paul Blakey, Executive Head Chef at Matfen Hall, talks us through the dining options at Matfen Hall, his plans for the future and what he likes to do on his day off.
I’ve been the Executive Head Chef at Matfen Hall since March 2015.
British celebrity cook Keith Floyd and my mum’s cooking inspired me to become a chef.
Cooking is something I’ve always wanted to do. I studied it for two years at college and then went straight into the industry.
Before coming to Matfen Hall I’ve worked at Doxford Hall and Linden Hall in Northumberland, Rozel Bay in Jersey, Brandshatch in Kent and Woolpack in Kendal.
One of the best moments of my career so far was when we were awarded two AA Rosettes at Linden Hall, and also at Doxford Hall.
I really wanted to work at Matfen Hall as its the chance to work in a large, award-winning hotel and to hopefully take it on to the next level.
Matfen has a variety of dining options. In the two AA Rosette Library restaurant the emphasis is on fine dining with local, good quality produce at the heart of it. In The Conservatory guests can enjoy the same level of good quality produce but in a more informal environment. The Keepers Lodge may be golf-orientated but it is open to the public and offers great rustic dining and can also be used for private functions.
When people come to Matfen Hall they can expect a warm welcome and good honest food, which is unpretentious yet still of a high quality.
One of my favourite dishes at the moment is served at The Library restaurant and is a pan-seared fillet of sea trout with seared scallops, asparagus, samphire and broad beans.
I love everything about my job – from working with a great team and producing the menus, to the day to day running of the kitchen.
I want Matfen Hall to be a stand out place for the quality of its food and for giving guests an all-round excellent hotel experience.
In the future, I hope to maintain two AA Rosettes in The Library restaurant and to continue to develop and enhance all of the menus.
When I have a day off I love to read, eat out and go running.
One restaurant I would love to eat at is Tom Kerridge’s The Hand & Flowers in Marlow.
My foodie guilty pleasure is Wagamamas.
Get a taste of Matfen Hall at home with Paul’s recipe for a Tasting of Northumbrian Lamb