123 days ago
Chef Mathew Shipley showered with accolades just two years into the trade
After working for Sodexo in logistics and event management for five years, Mathew Shipley switched career paths when he joined Ascot Racecourse in January 2016 as a kitchen clerk. Since then he has gained a level 2 NVQ in professional cookery and is now a chef de partie at the world famous racecourse.
Mathew won the 2017 Street Food Challenge and has partnered with Sodexo to develop his own brand: Rib n' Bone Man.
What inspired you to enter the street food challenge?
It's the type of food that makes me happy, so when I cook it I want people to feel how I feel. Street food is something that I've always loved doing and it's something I've been working on for the last couple of months, not only for competitions but also trying to get ideas incorporated into Ascot as well.
How did it feel to win?
I was over the moon. There were eight other contestants and some of the food was outstanding; I didn't think I'd win it.
This is my fourth competition now. I've had a bronze award, silver award and gold awards at Salon Culinaire. Last year I won bronze in Chef of the Year and I've got into the final again this year.
What inspired your career switch?
I was working in logistics for two years, looking after Chelsea Flower Show, The Open golf championships, Hampton Court, concerts at Hyde Park. Then I went across to be a kitchen clerk for the head chef Ben Dutson (at Ascot) and that's when I knew I wanted to work in a kitchen. He gave me a chance and it went from there.
What do you like most about it?
Just the buzz. We only have a small team of seven so we're like a family. It's really goodto have the support of everyone here.
But it's also about the cooking. I've always wanted to be a chef but I used to always follow friends in playing football instead and never getting into cookery.
How have the other chefs encouraged you?
They encourage us everyday. We help each other out and you're always given feedback and help. With the competition I've got my exec chef (Gemma Amor) tasting my recipes and telling me what I need to change and what I need to do. It's all about taking the feedback off people.
I've been working very closely with the head chef and the exec chef and they've been training me.
What's the most useful piece of advice you've been given?
Just to believe in yourself. And to constantly make sure I'm developing myself and always taking feedback and criticism on board.
What's it like to work at such a prestigious venue?
It's just amazing. Every single day I walk into work and you just look up at the building and think “wow”. To me I couldn't be more proud working here and the team that we work with is like a big family.
Tell us about Rib n' Bone Man
We were looking at different types of street food and I came up with the concept of rib n' bone man while brainstorming with a friend. We researched the idea and made sure there was no-one else out there with the same name and we just came up with a logo and everything else fell into place really.
It's something we're really looking forward to pushing. We've got an Instagram page setup and brought the website domain. We're hoping do some popup tents in London and maybe introducing ideas at Ascot.
Click here to check out the Rib n' Bone Man Instagram page.
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