Meet the National Chef of the Year 2016 finalists: Martin Carabott

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 4th October 2015

On Tuesday, October 6 a new National Chef of the Year 2016 will be crowned. We take a closer look at this year's finalists hoping to produce winning dishes at the final at The Restaurant Show, which will impress the judging panel - Martin Carabott.

Martin’s culinary journey began as a 15-year-old in his native Malta. Faced with a choice between a career in art or cooking, he decided on the latter and spent four years studying to be a professional chef at Malta’s Institute of Tourism. Coming to Britain for the first time during his studies to work at Gleneagles Hotel, Martin was welcomed back after his graduation, winning the Skills for Chefs competition in 2010.

His first taste of London came soon afterwards when he moved to Apsley’s, where he worked his way up to become a chef de partie in the kitchen of Michelin-starred chef Heinz Beck. Martin has been at the Royal Automobile Club’s Great Gallery since November 2012, originally as a chef de partie before moving up to junior sous chef and then sous chef in 2014, a position he currently holds.

Martin Carabott
Martin Carabott

Are you nervous about cooking live at The Restaurant Show?

Not really, I’ve done competitions before like ScotHot in Glasgow, which were quite similar. Obviously it’s different being in a new kitchen and I won’t be used to it. But it should be good.

What’s your kitchen philosophy?

When I changed positions I was focused on flavour and seasonality and having ingredients and making the best of them, and I like to keep things quite simple, but technical. That’s the best way to bring out something, like for example if I’m working with artichokes, I’ll do the least to it as possible, to get the best results without adding too much to it.

Who have been your greatest influences?

There’s a number of people, but particularly working with Heinz Beck a lot, working at Gleneagles before that with a lot of the chefs there. Where I am right now at the RAC, particularly my head chef Robert Chambers.

What are your plans for the future, where do you want to be?

Martin Carabott
Martin Carabott

My aim is to have my own kitchen. Whether it’s at my own restaurant or being in the position of head chef at a restaurant somewhere, that would be amazing.

Finally, what would winning National Chef of the Year mean to you?

It would be like winning a world championship, it would be amazing! The aim of all this, the reason why I entered in the first place was to see where I stand among such big competition as it naturally attracts the best of chefs. Winning it would be a big boost to my self-esteem and to my kitchen.

>>> Read about the other National Chef of the Year 2016 finalists here

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 4th October 2015

Meet the National Chef of the Year 2016 finalists: Martin Carabott