Monday, 22 April 2013

Matt Weedon at Fallowfields - Shoot: April 2013

By watching too many TV food programmes you could easily be fooled into thinking that all great chefs may be a little in love with themselves, and at an extreme a touch “rude”…

Well having worked with Matt Weedon last week at Fallowfields, Kingston Bagpuize, Oxfordshire I can assure you that there are certainly very talented cooks about who are humble and very pleasant to be around.

Matt won his first Michelin star at Scotland’s Glenapp Castle and in 2008 became head chef at Lords of the Manor, Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire winning it it’s first Michelin star in early 2009.

Now, along with his wife; Rachel who runs front of house, he is the hope of Fallowfields owner; Anthony Lloyd to do exactly the same here.


Anthony told me that when Matt arrived back in mid March that he had asked Matt if he wanted his name above the restaurant entrance. Apparently Matt looked at him a little quizzically, responding with “I’ll let my food do the talking”. He also told me at our first meeting that the reason he is so passionate about what he does is that he likes to put a smile on the faces of his diners; delivering them excellence in exchange for their hard earned cash.

"Very Local" Pork

Matt is under played, softly spoken yet is clearly a thinker with compassion and a good sense of humour. I could tell from the enthusiasm that his assistant chef: Matt (yes Matt!) had that he is clearly inspirational to work alongside.

Sea Bass

It would seem that Matt coming to Fallowfields is the fulfilment of some kind of prophecy: Once when asked what his earliest memory of food was he responded with: "Grandma's Sunday Roast" - real tender beef with all the trimmings. I can still remember the great smell that came out of her kitchen”. He also commented that he would like his final meal to be “Rib-eye steak with Chips and Sauce Bearnaise”. Well at Fallowfields he now has his own small herd of Dexter cattle; as farm manager to rear and chef to serve up. Not only does he have excellent rare breed beef cattle to hand but Tamworth and Gloucester Old Spot pigs too.

"Very Local" Beef

If that wasn’t enough of the fulfilment of a prophecy Matt talked to me about his love of birds of prey and his fondness for photographing them…yes you’ve guessed it Fallowfields has it’s own falconry centre with over 60 birds and 30 species!

"Rhubarb & Custard"

The food that Matt prepared and I photographed on the day is perhaps best described as classically British but with inspiration taken from modern French food, making use of light reductions and foams that accentuate the food rather than drown it out. In fact Matt offered me the gravy to add to the pictured pork dish and we both ended up agreeing that it photographed better without it!
While Matt doesn't like, or attempt, to over complicate his dishes he certainly produces colourful works of art that beg to be eaten for the wonderful mix of textures that he brings to each plate: The eyes are captivated and the flavours do the talking.

Hand Made Macaroons & Chocolates

We didn't get all the dishes we had intended to photograph done during the shoot so I'm looking forward to going back shortly and capturing his wonderful sweet soufflĂ© and chocolate dessert. I’ll also get some shots of the livestock, quails and the kitchen garden as it blooms during the warmer months. Watch this space.

All images and text copyright Andrew Hill 2013

More and larger Images may be found on the Revealing Light website.

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