'I have much respect for all the dishwashers out there': Andrew Matthews

 I have much respect for all the dishwashers out there: Andrew Matthews

The head chef of White And The Bear lets us into his kitchen

Published: Fri 13 Sep 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 13 Sep 2019, 2:00 AM

Your favourite memory of food.
Working on the weekend as a 15-year-old dishwasher in a busy Italian restaurant, the chefs really pushed me from being a super picky eater to someone who fell in love with items such as olive tapenade and cauliflower purées. They exposed me to a lot of different things that I am grateful for.
What would you say is the most challenging part of your job?
Keeping a team focused and passionate day in, day out and ensuring that we are all aligned on the core ethos of the restaurant. We always have to remember that we are serving the most special customers of Dubai - children! - and their playfulness and innocence needs to be reflected in every item that comes out of our kitchen. It is challenging, but also quite possibly my favourite part of this job!
Do you have a personal mantra or motto that drives the way you cook?
Good food starts with the quality of the ingredients. Buy quality, keep it simple and let the food speak for itself!
How often do you eat out? What's your favourite place around town?
It's very difficult to get out with a chef's schedule. I do love the ever-growing café scene and try to eat out with my wife and daughter any chance we get. At the moment, we are regulars at Din Tai Fung. I love it!
After cooking all day, do you cook for yourself at home too?
I do cook from time to time at home, but it definitely isn't often and mostly happens when I get a burst of inspiration to experiment with something new and have my family be the first ones to try it.
You're asked to invent an unusual dish - what would it be?
Being from Australia, it would have to be an extravagant take on a vegemite and cheese toasty. Shaved truffles and some melted Fontina cheese with good old vegemite on crusty sourdough sounds good to me!
Who do you admire most in the culinary world, and why?
All the dishwashers out there. I have been there, it's tough, especially in busy venues. Much respect! But if we are talking celebrity personalities in our industry, Annabel Karmel would have to be on the list, especially after we recently had the chance to work with her for the restaurant.
Favourite comfort food?
I'd say spaghetti bolognese with lots of cheese.
If you could choose a last meal, what would it be?
A huge piece of medium-rare rib eye wagyu with a light creamy mash and demi-glace.
Your favourite culinary destination -and why?
That would be Victoria, Australia - not necessarily Melbourne, although it's amazing too. There are many great
places in the countryside that are literally paddock to plate so you can always expect to experience some amazing
food there.
Where can we find you, when you're not in the kitchen?
Out and about with my wife and baby girl for shopping and recreation. Anywhere that is child-friendly, really!
- Staff reporter

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