First joining us in 2004, Matthew is a familiar face to many. Now, 18 years later as Senior Maitre D’, Matthew shares what he loves most about The Wolseley – from the unrivalled buzz of breakfast service to his favourite dish on the menu…
How did you first get into hospitality?
Well, as a teenager back at home in Liverpool I saw an advert for a local hotel needing part-time waiting staff over Christmas, paying £10.50 for a three hour shift. A customer offered me £20 to spill a beer on his friend – which I ended up doing three times and getting a £60 tip for (this was in the 1990s!). And since then I’ve never looked back really; I’ve always thought hospitality is a very good business to work in.
You’ve been working at The Wolseley for 18 years now, what makes you stay?
It’s always been the best company to work for. Before here, I was at The Ivy, then with Gordon Ramsey and also spent some time in Australia, but I returned here when The Wolseley opened. It’s so difficult for a restaurant to run breakfast successfully – and nearly 20 years later, it’s still the best place in London.
What’s your favourite thing about working breakfast service?
For 10 years or so I was on dinner service, but since moving to breakfast I’ve discovered a newfound love. As a Maitre D’ you’re the gateway to the restaurant; like a conductor of an orchestra. It has a completely different temperament – it’s like a big jigsaw puzzle and the buzz you get to create is unrivalled; there’s nowhere else like it.
Can you talk us through some of your standout memories from over the years?
There’s been so many good times, it’s impossible to choose… I think it’s more about what makes The Wolseley unique. From well-known actors greeting each other on the floor when they’ve not known the other is going to be here, to countless evenings with Lucien Freud who was so personable and down to earth. We’ve even continued on through service through a full power grid failure, with customers just eating plates of cheese etc.!
And if you had to choose just one dish from the breakfast menu what would it be and why…
In my thinner days, it would have been anything with hollandaise sauce. Now, I go for the chicken livers, with bacon and spinach – it’s a phenomenal breakfast dish that you won’t find anywhere else.
When you’re not at The Wolseley, where can we find you?
I love travelling and restaurants, unsurprisingly. I live in Brixton and love the market; there’s always good food to be had! Otherwise, in my real downtime I enjoy reading and TV.
And finally, what one piece of advice would you give to anyone looking to join the industry?
Be yourself! Create a character for yourself, because you’re pretty much on stage every day in a restaurant. Also, don’t get put off by the hecklers…
If you’re interested in joining our team, visit The Wolseley Hospitality Group website to see our current vacancies: https://thewolseleyhospitalitygroup.com/recruitment