My City Series | Matt Manning
No one knows a city better than its people. Consciously Connected Travel shares with you our global fam and friends through our My City Series. Unmasking some of the coolest places and it’s people and giving you a deeper more connected insight.
Born in England, Private Chef Matt Manning perfected his trade in London’s finest Michelin-starred restaurants under the tutelage of some of the best in the business, including Gordon Ramsay, Marcus Wareing, Alyn Williams and Bryn Williams.
Upon relocating to South Africa, Matt worked at La Colombe, before his inherent entrepreneurial spirit saw him embarking on a solo career as a private chef. Matt regularly cooks for bespoke events, corporate functions, intimate occasions, as well as for clients abroad.
Matt Manning is also the creator of a number of unique dining experiences which are open to the public, including ‘One Ingredient’ – a pop-up dinner highlighting a single ingredient across a number of courses – as well as his own series of all-inclusive gastronomic getaways.
Born and Raised or Expat?
Originally from Essex, Expat in Cape Town. I have been in Cape Town for 7 years. Been a private chef for 4 years.
2. How did the idea of being an International chef and the Brunch experience come about?
Well it’s sort of the full package, I didn't just work for one client, working exclusively in the States for UNHWI clients ranging from German, Angolan, Swiss origins, catering to their needs, wants and pallets always varied. My brunch experience and pop-up dining came to fruition as part of these experiences. I do a lot of work on the wine farms, going out to the farm, inspired to create new dishes, being able to get out and cook in the middle of nowhere in unique environments, allowing people to connect and exchange over good food and conversation.
3. What are your fondest memories of Cape Town when you started your business?
The two years I spent working in restaurants.
4. On your Day-to-Day routine?
Don’t really have a routine to be honest with you, really depends on where I am and what i’m doing I suppose, it’s nice not having a 9-5 and not knowing what you’re gonna to be doing week to week. I’m quite lucky in that sense, like I said I create a lot of my own work and being able to create events within my own personal space makes it even more special. The brunch club is something that helps to support the marketing of the brand. My fiancée loves the fact that we open our home to others so they can experience what its like to have a meal at a Chef’s house. I don’t know because I don’t really feel comfortable having people at my house, so then we comprised and we decided to have people in our house. Doing it once a month or every other month, hosting different people, working with different wine farms.
5. Some of your favourite spots to eat?
Something casual - La Tete, Bistro food , something a bit more up market La Mouette, Chef’s warehouse is always a go-to. Nourish’d Cafe at the top of Kloof. If you head over to Franschhoek, then visit Maison for an incredible starter , Foliage for a delicious main, Le Lu MCC House for some bubbles and their soufflés.
6. Where did you learn how to cook?
I went to cooking school in Norwich for a while, started when he was about 15. I wanted to get a job in-between school on the weekend, started working in a small hotel restaurant, in the country-side. Then decided to do this full-time. I was actually going to do electrical-engineering. Neither mum or dad are the chefs in the house, I am the cook in the house.
7. Tell us some of your favourite spots in Cape Town?
8. Where do you go to escape?
I love going to wine-farms on the weekends. Thats the best part about living in Cape Town, just being able to drive 30 minutes, and being in the middle of nowhere. Drive out, drinks loads of wine and stay out there. I go to Mozambique sometimes to escape, to the north, I enjoy cooking using local ingredients there
9. What are some of your favourite dishes to make?
I love making Italian style dishes, it’s all about the ingredients, very fresh and light. I like accompanying the dishes with some of my favourite local wines, Costa del Start -Chenin Blanc 2017 - W.O Swartland and Sijnn.
10. What local brands do we have to know about?
Apart from me? Food trends, less is more
11. Where’s your next adventure?
Opening a new space,
12. Does Travel breed creativity?
Especially here, you realise how much you can actually do.
13. The ultimate dancing feet reliefs post liquid courage?
I’ve got a gym downstairs, my fiancé convinces me to run most mornings. I do lions head mountain quite a lot.
15. Are there any philanthropic programmes or projects that you’re passionate about or would like to shed some light on?
There’s a couple of cool farming projects, I’ve done a bit of work with them, basically there’s an orphanage Ive gone out there and taught the kids how to cook, doing cooking classes or demos and provide an educational space for youngsters that want to get into cooking, without having to pay thousands for courses and all the tools.
16. Entrepreneurs, Tastemakers and Trailblazers, Where do people like you hangout in your city?
Nowhere because they’re always working. But more often than not, you can find them at Open Wine and Publik wine bar, they are smaller more chilled-out places
17. A locals-only, off-the-radar, black book spot?
My brunch clubs, and private kitchen, trying to keep it incognito.