An award-winning young chef from Mid Wales has returned to the place where he began his career after working on the Emir of Qatar’s yacht for 18 months.
Matthew Jackson, 23, has been appointed junior sous chef at Llangoed Hall, Llyswen, near Brecon, one of Britain’s finest five-star country house hotels, which is now under new ownership.
Former general manager Calum Milne has himself recently returned as Llangoed Hall’s new managing director with a mission to restore the imposing, situated near the Brecon Beacons National Park, to the best country house hotel in Wales and a leader in the UK hospitality industry.
He recruited Matthew as a 16-year-old when the luxury hotel was owned by the late Sir Bernard Ashley, co-founder of the Laura Ashley fashion brand.
During his first spell at the hotel, Matthew won three national awards - The Worshipful Company of Cooks’ joint best chef in Britain in the City & Guilds Hospitality and Catering NVQ Level Two results, the City & Guilds Medal of Excellence and the Savoy Hotel learning award.
The talented young chef, who lives in Builth Wells with his partner Anna and two-year-old daughter, Lola, has gained valuable experience working in the kitchens at some of the top restaurants in the UK, including The Waterside Inn, Bray under Michel Roux and Lords of the Manor in the Cotswolds.
He then joined the crew of 70 aboard the Emir of Qatar’s yacht as third chef, where he cooked for the royal family and guests whilst cruising to many of the world’s most glamorous destinations.
“It was a fantastic experience and I learnt so much working with chefs of different nationalities,” said Matthew.
“But it’s great to be back home and I’m looking forward to playing a part in helping Llangoed Hall achieve a Michelin star. I think the hotel has great potential under Calum’s leadership.”
Always keen to expand his knowledge, he has recently visited the widely acclaimed Tickets restaurant in Barcelona, which he described as “awesome”.
As for his speciality, he said: “I don’t really have a signature dish, but I do love sushi and working with fish. Working with so many chefs of different nationalities, I have picked up a lot of tips over the years.”