30th January 2020
Q & A with Matthew
We grabbed a few minutes with our founder and director Matthew to ask him a few questions about the Food Industry and managing Baba!
1 . You’ve worked at some amazing places some with Michelin stars - do you think the michelin guide is still relevant?
I do, I think it still has a place in the industry however I also think that there are some fantastic restaurants that don't have a star, it is just that a "guide". Some of the best places are the totally authentic, down a back alley, unassuming restaurants cooking traditional foods.
2. Sustainability is a hot topic at the moment – what does Baba do to be eco-conscious?
We are trying! All our products are locally sourced so that our food miles are as low as possible! We use an organic vegetable supplier and we've swapped all our disposables to be non-plastic. It's little changes that make a big difference.
3. With plant-based dining on the rise, how have you adapted your menus to accommodate vegetarian and vegan diners?
Massively! We've worked really hard on this, not only for Vegan and Vegetarians but also around allergens too - we offer a bespoke service for this now to ensure that we really can provide exactly what our clients are after. It's also been really great to work with new flavours and experiment with new dishes for this.
4. Hospitality is a tricky world at times, long hours, long days - have you experienced difficulty with hiring chefs in what’s becoming a very competitive market and how do you retain staff?
Yes we have and there's definitely a lack of classically trained chefs at the moment, a lot of young people think they can be a celebrity chef and its easy. You have to really love food to be in this industry - if you don't it soon shows! knowing the basics first ensures the foundations are set - some people just want to race to the end goal - training is so important and its one thing we pride ourselves on investing in with the team.
Our team work a 5 day week with no split shifts. We make sure we have a team lunch together to create that team bond and generally tend to hire people who where possible are local, love food, events, people and have a genuine love what they do! We tend to do a lot of field trips foraging / fishing / supplier visits and trips to other restaurants to keep our eyes on the ball with new trends and ensure the staff are involved in that journey. We like our chefs particularly to really get involved in the produce and sourcing.
5. What’s your favourite thing to cook at home?
We have a real flavour for middle Eastern Feasts / Mediterranean Feasts - I'm really into Caribbean food at the minute!
6. Describe your cooking in a few words…
My cooking is actually very classic - focusing on the simple ingredients & those flavours to really bring out the best in each dish. Let the flavours do the talking!
7. What’s your guilty food pleasure?
Hate to say it but - Fray Bentos Pie in a Tin!
8. Who do you look to for inspiration?
There are lots for a variety of reasons but people like Valentine Warner, Rick Stein, James Martin and Keith Floyd - absolute hero!