Matthew Tomkinson, Montagu Arms Hotel

The Staff Canteen
Matthew Tomkinson

Matthew Tomkinson discusses his role as Head Chef at The Montagu Arms Hotel and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Matthew Tomkinson

Place of work: The Montagu Arms Hotel

Role: Head Chef

Bio: Matthew Tomkinson is Head Chef of The Montagu Arms the four-star luxury house hotel, Beaulieu. The Michelin-starred restaurant serves up a wide choice of dining experiences, delicately prepared using only the finest ingredients. Before this he won the Roux Scholarship in 2005 and went on to be Head Chef at The Goose.

Follow Matthew on Twitter here: @MTomkinsonChef 

Chef Skills

Matthew Tomkinson takes us through his personal experiences whilst being in the Culinary Industry. These key skills that young Chefs and industry professionals learn as part of their basic training.

How long have you been in this role?

6 years.

What experience and many years in your opinion would someone need to progress to the top level of the industry?

I think it takes 10-12 years to become a good cook, where and how you get this experience will dictate how far you go. I think it also depends on how you define the ‘top’ I think quality county house hotels provide a good breadth of experience to a young Chef, 3 -4 years somewhere like this allows you to experience the different seasons a few times.

 After this, you can ‘specialise’ refining what you have learnt in the area of the industry that interests you.

Who are the key Chefs and restaurants that someone should be speaking to and trying to gain experience with?

 There are so many top places now, I think you should try and gain experience with someone that you get on with and can enjoy working for rather than just picking a restaurant or hotel based purely on accolades.

What would be your top five tips?

  • Learn by watching and listening
  • Be prepared to make sacrifices
  • Be flexible
  • Think before you act
  • Don’t follow the money

What are you looking out for on a CV or in an interview if someone was applying to work with you?

Primarily a nice person that I feel we can work with, for more senior positions appropriate experience. However, there are a lot of very good Chefs not working in ‘top’ establishments. I think you need to try and see the person not the CV.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 13th April 2017

Matthew Tomkinson, Montagu Arms Hotel