1 Michelin Star Chefs: David Everitt-Matthias, Le Champignon Sauvage

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 9th October 2018

David Everitt-Matthias is the chef patron of Michelin-starred Le Champignon Sauvage.

David Everitt Matthias' cooking is inspired by his grounding at Tante Claire, and spending time under Pierre Koffman; although very much his own man David's style is sometimes said to have Koffman-esque aspects. He has become known for a willingness to experiment and innovate. Unfortunately in 2018 Le Champignon Sauvage lost a star in the Michelin Guide UK 2019.

Le Champignon Sauvage

LE  CHAMPIGNON  SAUVAGE

 24-28 Suffolk Rd, Cheltenham GL50 2AQ

Head Chef:
David Everitt- Matthias

Opening times:
Tuesday-Saturday: 12.30-1.15pm, 7.30-8.30pm
Monday and Sunday: Closed

Website: www.lechampignonsauvage.co.uk
Twitter: @lechampsauvage
Instagram: @lechampsauvage
Telephone: 01242573449

Unique Talent

David Everitt-Matthias stands out in his field for many reasons; one of them is the quiet, understated way he goes about running his restaurant and cooking amazing food. He appears to have eschewed the 'celebrity' culture which has proven such an attraction for chefs in the UK as they make their way in the industry, gaining awards and reputation.

David Everitt-Matthias
David Everitt-Matthias

David says he recognises the potential value of this move, for a chef's, and a restaurant's reputation, but he could not bear to be away from the kitchen for so long.

This is a credit to his work-rate, commitment and attitude to the profession of which he clearly has the greatest respect and indeed is highly respected within it.

So it may have taken David a little longer to get to where he is, without the TV fast-track to success, but it seems to have been worthwhile for them. This is particularly true since, he says, he and his wife, Helen, were always very careful and reluctant to take on debt. So growing the business, and developing the restaurant has only been possible over time, as they became more established.

But more established they certainly now are, coming a long way since they met when both were starting out at the world famous Four Seasons (Helen on Front of House). At the time Jean Michel Bonin was Head Chef and David has spoken of the time it took to gain his respect, but once he had done so, and Jean Michel clearly saw that potential, they have stayed in touch ever since.

Touchingly, when the time came, David made the effort to inform Jean Michel that his former charge had won first one and then the second, prized Michelin star. Surely a proud moment for both.

Career to Date

David also spent time working with Pierre Koffman at his restaurant and this seems to gave been a pivotal time; he witnessed the joy and pleasure from the pure focus on producing excellent food, above all else, and which could be foraged and sourced locally, and David recognised this to be the direction he wished to head with his own career.

After this David became Head Chef at three restaurants in London at the same time, each with their different styles. Obviously this was a chance for him to find what would suit him and what he did best.

Clearly he made the right choice and soon after David and Helen opened Le Champignon Sauvage, when he was just 26 and she two years younger; they had to learn as they went along and although initially things went well, they faced the recession in the 80s which threatened to stop them before they really got going. The risk averse, careful business approach must have paid off though, because they made it through and came out stronger.

Combining Helen's attention to detail for the look and feel of the restaurant and David's increasing confidence to cook the food he wanted to offer (rather than what he thought people wanted to see) they went from strength to strength and just a few years later, in '95 they took their first Michelin star.

Guides and those in the industry continued to recognise the qualities of the quite unique approach adopted by David and Helen, with a steady string of commendations from all quarters ever since. In 2000 they achieved the second Michelin star and the business has grown accordingly.

Success breeds confidence, as they say, and they took the opportunity to expand 'Le Champignon' into the shop next door but, still they took a different approach – choosing not to fill up that space with as many covers as could fit; instead they opted to offer patrons more space to enjoy their meal, and eat in comfort.

Although we may not expect to see David grace our screens any time soon, as much as many people would like to, he has produced several books which have been very well received.

Talking of this in his interview with The Staff Canteen he talks of enjoying offering professionals and home-chefs something they can't find in most other books; much like the rest of his career, David has tried to do things differently and it has worked very well so far.

Videos by David Everitt-Matthias:

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 9th October 2018

1 Michelin Star Chefs: David Everitt-Matthias, Le Champignon Sauvage