Suffolk/Essex: Chef who honed his skills at Le Talbooth in Dedham steps into your kitchen with new venture M Phillips Dining
- Credit: Su Anderson
Matt Phillips is passionate about cooking. After learning his trade at a small restaurant in Essex, and honing his skills at Le Talbooth in Dedham, he set up his own business earlier this year.
Matt, who lives in Stowmarket, runs M Phillips Dining – a catering company which specialises in providing a fine dining at home service.
Essex-born Matt started working in the restaurant business at the age of 16.
He said: “I’ve always enjoyed cooking and, aged 16, I got a job at a small restaurant in Clacton with about 30 covers.
“I worked at the restaurant for three years and really learned my trade there. I loved the hustle and bustle of service.”
Later in his career, Matt got a job at Le Talbooth in Dedham.
Matt added: “I got a position at Le Talbooth in outside catering, cooking food for weddings and corporate events. That’s where I felt I became a real chef. It stood me in good stead.
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“I worked on outside catering for a couple of years, then in the main restaurant for a year to get the whole experience.”
After working in fine dining, Matt decided to set up M Phillips Dining, which launched earlier this year.
“From that point, I wanted to work for myself and offer a new, unique service,” he said.
“Now I offer a fine dining service in the comfort of your own home.”
As well as having your very own chef for the night, your table will be laid and crockery, cutlery and glasses are provided.
“We try to make it totally hassle-free, and offer everything as part of the price. We set up the table as standard, but you can also choose to do it yourself.”
Also included in the price is a totally bespoke menu. “First of all, we ask if you have any dietary requirements,” said Matt.
“We also ask what sort of dishes you actually enjoy eating. Then we send over some menu ideas. The client gets a lot of input, so it’s a completely bespoke service.”
Matt can also come up with a fine dining menu for children. “Friends of my family said that it can be a hassle taking children out to restaurants sometimes, as there’s nothing they want to eat on the children’s menu,” he said. “And I know when I was younger I wanted to eat the same as the adults!”
He added: “I aim to offer the best food you could expect from a fine dining restaurant. I offer tailor-made menus and deal with dietary requirements too.”
One of Matt’s showstoppers is beef Wellington. “That’s our signature dish,” said Matt. “It’s quite theatrical as we carve it at the table. People see it coming in and they’re impressed.”
Despite Matt’s sweet dishes getting the most attention on social media, he prefers to cook savoury dishes.
“I like to make canapés, as they’re really experimental,” said Matt, whose company is based in Coddenham.
One of his latest creations is goats’ ‘cheesecake’ with red onion confit.
“To make the savoury base, I cook filo pastry and blitz it up to make a biscuit crumb-like texture,” he added.
Two of his most popular canapés are updated versions of British favourites – ‘bangers and mash’, where mashed potato is piped into cocktail sausages and mini roast beef dinner – a mini Yorkshire pudding, slice of sirloin steak and horseradish cream.
Matt often creates trios of puddings and his chocolate creations look particularly mouthwatering, such as the chocolate and orange delice with Chantilly cream (pictured above).
“We are coming up with new dishes all the time,” said Matt.
The fine dining at home service, which is available across East Anglia, costs £32.95 a head for three courses or £46.95 for six courses. Matt is offering a 10% discount off the service throughout September.
M Phillips Dining also offers a range of traditional catering menus for events, such as weddings and birthday celebrations.