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              Meet Matthew Hodgett Pâtisserie Master Chef

              patisserie master chef matthew hodgett - le cordon bleu london

              English born Chef Matthew first trained at Stamford College, but it was well before beginning his career at Stamford Hotel that he discovered his love for pâtisserie. After furthering his training and gaining an Advanced Pastry qualification, Chef Matthew worked at Hanbury Manor and later Gravetye Manor, where he helped them earn their first Michelin Star. Throughout his career, Matthew has gained experience at the InterContinental Hotel, the American Embassy, and Claridges, as well as working as Head Pastry Chef for the Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and Wentworth Golf Course.

              What made you want to become a chef and where do you think your passion stemmed from?
              Well firstly, my Uncle was a chef but I always seemed to have a flair for pastry which I think came from baking cakes with my Mum, Nan and Aunty. Someone once told me that I had the mentality and patience to be a teacher so that has also always been in the back of my mind.

              What are you most passionate about in the world of pâtisserie?
              I’d have to say chocolate and cake decorating. If I’m at a restaurant I’ll always pick a chocolate dessert, either a chocolate fondant or perhaps a banofee pie.

              Who do you most respect in the culinary world?
              The Roux brothers. I grew up watching them on TV and I met Albert when he was the Director of Gravetye Manor. He asked us to start serving an apple tatin, so he brought down a book for us to make it. He picked me to create the first one and when he tasted it, all he said was "très bien" and from there on in I always made them for service.

              Three words to describe what an aspiring chef should be or do
              Focused, flair and smile – always enjoy your work!

              What do you love the most about the culinary scene here in London?
              It has so many different cultures, tastes and smells. What’s also nice to see is the all the different ways of presenting things. .

              Focused, flair and smile – always enjoy your work!

              Has cooking always been a pleasure for you?
              It all depends on the weather. Warm days can be tricky as your mousse may not set, sugar may stick to your hands and your chocolate will usually melt far too quickly.

              How did you deal with the pressure of cooking for the likes of the Roux brothers, the Queen, George Bush and the number of celebrities when working for the American Embassy and Claridges?
              You have to remember that it’s a job, but yes the pressure gets to you when you meet them. When I’ve met the likes of Gordon Ramsay and George Bush I was nervous but then you soon realise that they are nice people, who make normal conversation and shake your hand. I think there is a slight panic when you realise you’re cooking for that person, but it’s just the anxiety of knowing they will eat your food, but soon after the panic your training finally prevails and you remember the extremely high standard that you work to everyday. Only let yourself panic when you meet them, don’t let it get to you in the kitchen.

              What has been the strangest request you’ve had?
              When I was working at Claridges, Madonna was staying. At that time she was in the process of changing her diet to gluten free. She requested a cake, but with the recipe it didn’t allow for much liquid and many other ingredients were reduced so it turned out more like a brick. I was so worried when it got sent up to her, but a message came back down to say it was the best cake of its kind that she’s ever had – so that was a huge relief!

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