Matt Nicholls

After training at University College Birmingham, Matt has worked at The Cross at Kenilworth, Simpsons Restaurant and Fishmore Hall in Ludlow before taking on his current role at Cheals of Henley where he is working as a sous chef. The thing he loves most about cooking is to be able to take an ingredient that isn’t of expense or popularity and to turn it into something that is delicious.

Matt has wanted to be a chef since he was 15 years old and believes his love of cooking with his grandmother from a young age is what influenced him into this career path. As a 16-year-old, he took a lot of inspiration through the books of David Everitt-Matthias who won the National Chef of the Year title in 1996. As Matt has grown older, he has taken his inspiration more from what’s going on around him, such as his own dining experiences or the changing seasons.

What Matt loves most about competing is how it gets you away from the day to day routine of being a chef. It gives you the ability to draw on all your skillsets, past and present and he believes pushing yourself out of your comfort zone makes you a stronger chef. Being in the final of YNCOTY is an incredible feeling for Matt although he admits, a very nerve racking one. It’s inspiring for him to know this competition can help put your cooking infront of some of the industry’s biggest legends. 

Winning this competition would be a huge achievement for him and is something he has aspired to achieve since he first heard about it as a young college student. 

Preparation for this competition will be the make or break for Matt. He has competed in the British Culinary Federation Young Chef competition and also supported Adam Bennett during the 2015 Bocuse d’Or and this taught him that preparation is key. Once his dishes are planned, he will be using his days off to do full run throughs and taste testing to make sure he is happy with timings and the overall dishes. 

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