Chef Name: Matt Abé
Title: Chef de Cuisine.
Awards: Three Michelin Stars.
Four AA Rosettes.
How old were you when you started cooking professionally?
What’s your earliest and fondest first memory of food?
Fresh avocado with vinaigrette, made by my grandfather. Whenever I visited my grandparents we would have this as a starter to any meal in the summer. So simple but so tasty.
Which chefs inspire you most and why?
Gordon Ramsay. I remember watching Boiling Point at the age of 16 in Australia with my family and one day my dad asked me “Do you think you could work for him?” In my youthful naivety I replied “Of course I could!” 17 years later, I am now running Restaurant Gordon Ramsay with the constant support and mentorship of Gordon.
Clare Smyth. Clare has been one of the biggest influences on my cooking style and philosophies. Having worked together for seven years, she moulded me and gave me the platform and support to be the chef I am today.
What are your two favourite cookbooks and why?
The French Laundry by Thomas Keller. This was the first cookbook that I bought myself when I was 17. It’s all about emphasising the focus and dedication to becoming a great chef and restaurateur through respect for the people and produce.
My Vue by Shannon Bennett. I bought this book when I was 18 and it really cemented my passion for fine dining and French cuisine, and inspired me so much. It led me to work as chef de partie at Vue de Monde for two and a half years prior to moving to the UK.
Which two ingredients could you not live without?
Salt and a variety of good quality vinegars.
What is your favourite comfort food to cook at home?
You can’t beat a chicken, leek and mushroom pie with mashed potato and broccoli.
If you could eat at any Michelin star restaurant in the world today, where would it be and why?
Restaurant Frantzén in Stockholm. Recently awarded a third Michelin star, it’s top of my list!
And who would you take as your guest?
My wife, Sally. Sally is also a head chef (at The Harwood Arms), so any time we get together is rare but precious!
What do you look for in a good chef?
Passion, dedication to the craft, a good palate, the willingness to learn and, of course, stamina!
What advice would you give to chefs starting their career paths now?
You will make mistakes – learn from them, don’t be defined by them. Absorb as much information as possible and self-educate outside the kitchen. Approach each day as a new challenge and experience the opportunity to refine your craft – this never ends. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who inspire and drive you to achieve your best.
Matt Abé is Chef de Cuisine at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.
Address: 68 Royal Hospital Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 4HP, United Kingdom.
Telephone: +44 20 7352 4441