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Matt Osborne, Head Chef Marco Pierre White, Birmingham

Matt Osborne, Head Chef Marco Pierre White Restaurant Birmingham

Matt Osborne, Head Chef Marco Pierre White Restaurant Birmingham

Birmingham boy Matt Osborne is the new executive head chef at Marco Pierre White’s new rooftop restaurant at The Cube which opened this week.

We joined him in the bar for a quick (and of course exclusive to ETM)  chat before the opening night.
Originally from Solihull, 37-year-old Matt has an impressive CV, most recently executive head chef at Urban and Country Leisure, and before that at Lazy Cow, The Huff Cap in Great Aln, The Baraset Barn, when it was voted Midlands restaurant of the year, and Nuthurst Grange in Warwickshire.

Why did you decide to become a chef?

Like many teenage boys my passion was football but my dreams of playing for Villa ended with a broken leg. I grew up helping on my dad’s pig farm, collecting waste food from around the city and feeding the 800 pigs which gave me a real understanding and appreciation of farming and of meat.

I studied home economics at school but didn’t really have the discipline to take it seriously. My first job was as a commis chef in a carvery, and at about 15 I realised that I felt at home in a kitchen, and to this day still feel most comfortable when I’m in my chef’s whites.

Who’s your inspiration?

Marco [Pierre White] was always someone I looked up to, he was at the height of his fame while I was learning my trade and I always felt I could identify with the bad boy image he used to have.  When I went to work for Paul Salisbury at The Boot in Lapworth I was a lad and a bit of a rogue and I always say that Paul tamed me. I started to enjoy the discipline and developed a great attitude and a strong desire to push myself to do better.

I also leant a lot at Nuthurst Grange, I was there when it had 3 AA rosettes and I worked with lots of old school chefs with high morals and even higher standards. It was here I developed my own style of cooking modern classics; my interpretations of classic French cuisine.

So how did you end up working for Marco?

My step daughter went to one of Marco’s book signings and asked him if he’d heard of me! He’s always got his finger on the pulse and is genuinely interested in anything related to the industry so she told him all about where I worked. Not long afterwards I saw an advert for this position, got called for an interview, did a cook off for Marco and Francis Carroll, and after a few more meetings they offered me the job.

What are you aiming for with the new Marco Pierre White restaurant?

I would describe it as a chameleon. It’s a place where you can come in for a pint of Stumbling Badger and read the paper, enjoy a comforting shepherd’s pie and bread and butter pudding, or treat yourself to foie gras, roast partridge, chocolate fondant and a platter of local cheese with an excellent bottle of wine. The food is good, honest, affordable and well executed. People like to see familiar food on the menu and consistency is the key to success. I’d sum it up in two words – affordable glamour.

What gets you out of bed in a morning?

I’m a chef, it’s what I do. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, I love creating dishes and pushing myself to do better every day. This is such a rewarding industry; leading a fantastic team of 14 people in this incredible environment, continuing to learn and never ever compromising – that’s all the motivation I need.

What are your favourite dishes on the menu?

The parfait of foie gras to start, followed by the belly pork Marco Polo or the roast rump of lamb – it’s a close call. Marco and I were tasting the potage of mussels billy by yesterday (a reduction of mussel liquor with white wine, fish stock, cream, lemon juice and saffron, with mussels stirred in) and I’d say that’s not to be missed, if you’re coming in for a steak try the 10 oz rib eye.

What emphasis is there on sourcing produce locally?

We like to use local produce whenever we can as it’s important to support businesses in the region. There’s cheese from Fowlers of Earlswood in Warwickshire, Beer from Sadler’s Ales in Stourbridge, smoked salmon from the Wye Valley, Evesham asparagus, potatoes from Tiddington near Stratford and meat sourced from the region wherever possible by Coventry butchers E&P.

What do you cook at home?

Nothing at the moment as I’ve just moved into a new house and ripped the kitchen out, but I do love bangers and mash! I use a local butcher in Redditch called John Williams for my sausages at home.

Any secrets?

You can’t beat a good chicken kebab after a hard night in the kitchen.

For more info and menus visit MPW Steakhouse Restaurant Website

Read our exclusive Marco Pierre White interview

New Marco Pierre White Restaurant and Birmingham Hotel Opens – News here

Interview and imagery by ETM (c) 2011 Kate Eccles

Marco Pierre White Steak House Restauarnt, The Cube Birmingham

Marco Pierre White Steak House Restaurant, The Cube Birmingham

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