Curious about Matt Manning?

Matt Manning

I’m at a restaurant and I’ve just finished a delicious 4 course meal. I, and the 19 other guests, cooked 2 of these courses. Not your average restaurant experience.  We spoke to the Chef behind this interactive cooking concept, Matt Manning, over a glass of MAN Family Wines, kicking off by handing Matt some colouring crayons and a piece of paper – ‘Draw your favourite meal for me?’

(While Matt gets arty with some crayons) Is there one ingredient you wouldn’t work with?

Hmmmm brussel sprouts! People just wouldn’t eat them, they just don’t understand them. I understand them.

How do you choose your one ingredient?

Seasonally. It’s important to use seasonal ingredients as that’s when they are at their best. I also try to use local produce; there are so many great ones in Cape Town. You’re best off using the local guys – they have some great stuff!

Do you have a most embarrassing food moment?

My most embarrassing food moment? Probably at Pétrus in London. There were 2 pots on the stove, one for a lapsang tea syrup which needed some sugar syrup poured into it, and the other was a lobster bisque. I stupidly went and poured the sugar syrup into the lobster soup. It was horrible – a sweet lobster bisque. I got in so much trouble and had to make it again fresh.

Who were you working for at the time, what did they do?

Marcus Wareing – not the kind of guy you want to upset. He was throwing around a few fs and blinds.

You also worked for Gordon Ramsey, how was that?

It was pretty intense. That was at the same restaurant with Marcus Wareing. It was an interesting time. Marcus was one of the first protégés of Gordon’s to leave the Ramsey empire, and that happened when I was there. He decided to go and do his own thing. We had the choice to go with Marcus or stay with Ramsey. The whole brigade went with Marcus Wareing, and that was really awesome!

Was there a reason everyone chose Marcus Wareing?

Well, he was there all the time and people respected him and wanted to work for him. He’s one of the best chefs in the UK. He did a lot of shouting though – more than Gordon.

(MAN Family Wines representatives comes in to say thanks and good night: ‘You’re actually a pretty good drawer! Didn’t expect that – I knew you could put it on plate didn’t know you could put it on paper. Matt people also want to know who won this evenings Instagram plating up competition?’)

Matt Manning One Ingredient

I’ve been wondering about this, do you think the Instagram trend to snap our food before we munch pushes chefs to put more emphasis on what food looks like rather than taste? I mean there is now a restaurant in Tel Aviv that has special plates with phone holders for fodography – crazy right?!

Ummmm, well I think anyone who doesn’t take taste as the most important thing on the plate is wasting their time. It does matter what it looks like because at the end of the day you eat with your eyes first, but if it doesn’t taste good then it doesn’t matter if you’ve got lots of little pretty things. No one gives a fuck if it tastes shit! (Said with real passion!)

Why did you come to South Africa?

A woman. I came for a woman, then ended up falling in love with Cape Town. I actually ended up breaking up with her, and now I’m with a very special lady.

Maybe I shouldn’t print that, you might lose a lot of your clients if they know you’re not single!?

(He laughs) I always tell her don’t get mad if I flirt with a couple of girls at the dinner, but she gives me a hard time if I flirt too much!

Is there anything you miss about England?

Roast beef in a proper pub. I also miss rounds, no one does rounds here.

Do you have a ‘go to’ restaurant in Cape Town?

Chefs Warehouse on Bree Street. It’s superb.

Can you give us any cooking tips?

If there’s one ingredient you should always have in your kitchen, it’s wine. One I can’t live without would be onion. And one ingredient you should always put in your food is love.

So final question….is there one ingredient you would give up sex for?

Bacon Sarnie.

Matti Manning Prep

Check out One Ingredient’s website for regular dinner dates and the special ingredient Matt has chosen – or sign up for the newsletter so your fist to hear all the delicious news:

You can also follow Matt Manning on Instagram @MattManningChef: Warning may cause embarrassing drooling. Best enjoyed in private.


or 076 256 8654


Twitter: @MattManningChef #oneingredientSA