Matthew Street, executive chef of Seasons at The Eastbury Hotel in Sherborne, talks foodie nostalgia, salt-and-pepper peeves and sustainability
What’s the one kitchen item you couldn’t live without?
My hand blender. Over the years I’ve had quite a bit of stick for being old-school because I have to have it set up every night for service. I use it at the pass all the time.
What’s your earliest food memory?
Stood on a chair next to my mum, watching her cook. Sometimes we’d go out to the greenhouse and get whatever we needed – the smell of the basil and tomato vines just after watering is one of my earliest memories.
The taste of freshly picked raspberries also takes me right back to early childhood.
Guilty food pleasure?
Pizza. Last summer I set up a pizza oven in my garden and experimented with proving and timing. Once you’ve cooked them you’ve got to eat them … that was basically my summer.
Like to have supper with?
I can think of a huge amount of chefs I’d like to have dinner with, but instead I’d pick Sir David Attenborough for his experiences – it would give anyone something to think about. I’d also invite Rick Stein. I used to watch Food Heroes every Sunday; it was an excuse to stay up late at first, but then I got more and more addicted.
Where do you like to eat out?
I love little wine and cheese bars, and tapas bars. I’d like to find myself in a situation where I have one myself one day.
I love the simplicity of those restaurants: cheese and wine go so well together and there’s nothing complex about it. Just keep them well and serve them well.
Wish you’d known 10 years ago?
I wish I’d known to keep my cooking a little more simple. And to not take life too seriously.
Pet hates when eating out?
Probably watching other customers in the restaurant reaching for the salt and pepper before picking up their knife and fork. How can you make a judgement on whether you need it before you’ve tasted the food?
One trend you’d rather forget?
What we’re witnessing now: the ‘disposable’ culture.
And the next big thing?
The future is going back to single producers making one specialist product for a handful of customers. And more awareness about the sustainability of what we’re consuming.