For this year’s recently released Hampshire Food & Drink Guide 2019, we were lucky enough to get the incredibly talented young chef and Hampshire-born and raised Matthew Whitfield to write the foreword for us.
Having worked at The Montagu Arms’ Terrace Restaurant on and off since he was 18, Matthew Whitfield recently took up the post as head chef at The Terrace in January, where he quickly revolutionised the three-AA-rosette-awarded restaurant’s a la carte and tasting menus. Bringing his signature talent for creating innovative and exquisitely presented British plates to the restaurant, Matthew has since introduced culinary delights such as his partridge dish, which elegantly captures the distinctive aromas of the New Forest and is served under a dome that when lifted, releases a cloud of smoke that smells like burning gorse, and his Szechuan spiced duck that honours all the incredible Michelin-starred restaurants he has worked at throughout his career.
Read an extract from Matthew’s foreword in our Hampshire Food & Drink Guide 2019 below, and keep reading to check out Matthew’s chalk stream trout recipe – a surprisingly simple but super tasty dish that is ideal for impressing at any dinner party.
It’s a fantastic time to eat out in Hampshire. With such a variety of establishments to choose from, there’s truly something for everyone. I was born in the New Forest and raised in Southampton, and I recently moved back to Hampshire having worked at the prestigious three-Michelin-star Eleven Madison Park in New York. It was an unbelievable experience but when the opportunity arose to return to The Montagu Arms Hotel – where I started my career – it just felt like the right decision. It’s an exciting time to work in Hampshire as more and more venues push for sustainable processes and place importance on local produce. It’s also clear that today’s diners expect more from their local pubs and restaurants, which creates an exciting challenge for many businesses.
I consider myself extremely lucky to work in a region so rich in remarkable producers and growers. There’s such a vast array of exciting ingredients on our doorstep; it really is a food-lover’s dream. My team and I collect produce from the kitchen garden every day and ingredients often find themselves on the plate within an hour of being picked. We bake warm sourdough infused with hand-picked rosemary, as well as serving salad featuring vegetables and herbs taken from the garden. Having a real respect and connection to our produce allows us to showcase dishes with provenance to be proud of and a story to tell. Some of my favourite chefs in the area follow a similar line of thinking and it’s something I try to encourage young chefs to get excited about.
Matthew Whitfield’s Chalk Stream Trout Recipe
- One Side of Chalk Stream Trout
- 2 Bunches of Watercress
- 100g Toasted Pine Nuts
- 2 Lemon Segments
- 2 Maris Piper Potatoes
- Smoked Butter
- Cut 4 portions of fish to your desired size and score the skin
- Blanch 1 bunch of watercress in boiling salted water for 1 minute
- Remove from the boiling water and place into iced water to chill
- Squeeze out the excess water and blend in a food processor until smooth and keep cold
- Peel and dice the potatoes into half a centimetre and cook in salted water for 4 -5 minutes until cooked then chill
- Lightly toast the pine nuts until golden
- To cook the fish, place skin side down in a medium hot pan for 4 minutes and leave skin side down for 80% of the cooking time
- Turn the fish over for another 2 minutes and finish with smoked butter and lemon juice
- Add the diced potato to a pan and gently heat in the pureed watercress and pine nuts. (Don’t allow to get too hot as the green colour will go brown.)
- Finish the emulsion with salt and pepper, sliced lemon segments, chopped dill and chopped fresh watercress
- Place in the bowl and lay the fish on top
- Garnish with fresh watercress and serve