Meet Chef Matt Manning

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We talk to the creator of ‘One Ingredient’ dining experience and Private Chef Matt Manning, who has perfected his trade in London’s finest Michelin-starred restaurants under the tutelage of some of the best in the business, including Gordon Ramsay, Marcus Wareing, Alyn Williams and Bryn Williams.

Q: Tell us how your journey with food began?

It actually began when I was a kid. I used to spend long afternoons at my Nan’s house, and I would always join her while she cooked in the kitchen. She was a fabulous cook – her signature dish was prawn cocktail, which I am amused to see is making a comeback!

Q: What is your ‘One Ingredient’ dining experience all about?

‘One Ingredient’ is a pop-up dining experience, designed to highlight a single ingredient across a number of courses while showcasing the diversity and versatility of South Africa’s beautiful produce.

‘One Ingredient’, held at different locations across Cape Town and Johannesburg, is open to the public for booking but seats no more than 22 guests all at one table – keeping the dinner intimate and festive.

Q: What is your favourite ingredient to cook with?

Fire. You can’t eat it, but at the moment, it’s my favourite ingredient to cook with. It adds a beautiful deep smoky flavour like nothing else.

Q: Any ingredient you wouldn’t use?

I always said I would never use garlic as it would be too tricky in terms of coming up with a dessert that people would actually want to eat. However, I recently hosted a competition where the prize winner got tickets to my next dinner and was able to choose the evening’s ‘one ingredient’, and as luck would have it, she chose garlic.

I actually found myself enjoying the challenge, and ended up serving a savoury dessert (Black Garlic Goats Curd, Cauliflower Beignet, Piccalilli & Sourdough Crumb) which seemed to be a hit, as all the plates were clean by the end of the night!

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Q: Did you always know this was something you wanted to do?

In college, I was actually torn between pursuing electrical engineering or cooking. I chose cooking, as it was something I had always loved doing with my Nan, and I am so glad I did. Electrician Matt Manning doesn’t have quite the same ring to it!

Q: What was it like being taught and working with Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing?

It was an honour to work in their kitchens because even though it was tough, you knew you were chasing perfection, and that’s an ideal I can get behind.

Q: What can guests expect on November 2 at the Siemens and Good Taste event that you're hosting?

I will be cooking live from the stunning Siemens demo kitchen, so guests should pop over as I will be sharing a couple of my kitchen hacks, tips and a few tricks of the trade…and they may even get a couple of tasters to nibble on!

Want to witness Matt Manning in action on 2 November? Click here to find out more about Matt Manning's Live Cooking Demo with Siemens and Good Taste, and get your tickets today. #SiemenesGoodTasteExperience

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Quickfire Questions:

Favourite bottle of wine? It changes all the time…currently its Sijnn Syrah 2013
Pizza or burger? Clarkes Burger; hands down the best burger in Cape Town
Bucket list destination? Patagonia, so I could cook with my food hero, Francis Mallmann
Must-have ingredients at home? Garlic, olive oil (I love Willowcreek), thyme, onion and good butter

For tickets to MattManning's Live Cooking Demo with Siemens and Good Taste visit qkt.io/SGTasteExperience. To learn more about Matt visit www.mattmanningchef.com or find Matt on social media: @mattmanningchef.