Meet the Chef: Matt Gillan of The Pass

Matt Gillan is the chef at The Pass at South Lodge Hotel, near Horsham. Among many other delicious dishes he creates, he has a soft spot for the humble beetroot

What is your signature dish?I don’t have a signature dish as such. One of my favourite dishes is beetroot cannelloni, horseradish ice cream, orange and watercress.I like the fact that it lifts the humble beetroot to a new height. Guests have commented how they don’t like beetroot but have been converted by that dish.

How long have you been a chef?Fifteen years.

What made you want to become a chef?Spending a day helping the chefs prepare for service while I was washing up. I enjoyed the creativity.

Where did you start your career?At The Hen and Chicken Inn in Froyle, Hampshire

Who has influenced you most?I have learned a great deal from a number of chefs, and all have influenced my cooking and management style. It would be unfair to pick a single person

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?I enjoy creating dishes full of flavour that may have unusual flavour combinations, giving our guests a dining experience rather than just a meal, offering something different that can’t be replicated at home.

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Your top cookery tip for readers?When cooking pulses (lentils, white beans, etc) soak in sparkling water for 24 hours before cooking in fresh sparkling water. This will stop the splitting of the ingredient and will cook more evenly.

Your must-have kitchen gadget?At work it’s the PacoJet. For home it’s a Bamix hand blender.

Who would you like to cook for?Cheryl Cole and The Pussycat Dolls

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