Head Chef Matthew WHITFIELD | The Terrace Restaurant
The Montagu Arms are excited to announce the appointment of new head chef Matthew Whitfield, who returns to the UK after working at one of the world’s top restaurants.
Matthew joined the award-winning Terrace restaurant in January 2019 fresh from the three-Michelin-Star Eleven Madison Park in New York – currently ranked fourth in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
“I am thrilled to be joining The Montagu Arms, and have great plans for the future.”
The famed EMP has been in the top five of the world’s restaurants since 2016 and was the first American restaurant in 14 years to be named best restaurant in the world in 2017.
Matthew Whitfield, who worked at EMP under renowned chef Daniel Humm, has previously, worked for a succession of Michelin-starred restaurants, including the two-star Sea Grill in Belgium and the one-star Driftwood restaurant in Cornwall, where he was head chef.
Matthew left New York because he wanted to “do my own thing” revealing: “I had some really amazing offers, including in London. But then I was approached by the Montagu Arms.
Originally from Southampton, Matthew, 30, is returning to the Montagu Arms six years after working there as head pastry chef – this time as Head Chef of the prestigious Terrace Restaurant.
“I love this place, whenever I came back to the area I always stopped in to eat here.”
As a small boy Matthew Whitfield was being driven past the Montagu Arms Hotel with his grand-parents when he confidently announced: “One day I’m going to work there!”. His grandmother would have been astounded by Matthew's new title, as she was actually responsible for getting him his first job at the hotel after seeing the advert in the local paper.
“She would be absolutely thrilled about me becoming Head Chef at the hotel. I am very pleased to be back here, there is something very special about this place.”
He champions modern British food, creating innovate, light dishes that reflect the natural flavours of fresh, seasonal ingredients. Matthew intends to use the best of the New Forest and the hotel’s own produce. He picks the vegetables for the daily menu himself every morning and has already changed the bread to a sourdough with rosemary plucked from the garden.
Matthew says: “It’s served hot so when you break it open you get this wonderful smell of rosemary." Smell in eating is something important to him as can be seen from a dish that incorporates the smell of gorse burning in the New Forest. He has already changed The Terrace a la carte menu and introduced two new £70 tasting menus including a vegetarian one which can easily be adjusted to become vegan.
“It is a dream to return to the Terrace".
Matthew is looking forward to building on the great work of his friend and former colleague, Matthew Tomkinson, who leaves The Montagu Arms after 10 years at the helm of the Terrace. The two are very good friends and Tomkinson, who has left to launch another venture, is “very pleased” that his former protégé has stepped into his shoes.