Chef Matt Tebbutt
Matt Tebbutt on making Saturday Kitchen Live his own and the perils of live TV
We get to drink at 10.30 in the morning!
Saturday Kitchen Live Saturday / BBC1 / 10.00am
Matt Tebbutt is a very busy man. As well as taking over regular presenting duties on BBC1’S Saturday Kitchen earlier this year, next week sees him present Good Food’s new travelogue Matt Tebbutt’s South Africa every weeknight. As TV Times catches up with Matt, 43, for a chat, he tells us why his success is all down to luck… How are you enjoying presenting Saturday Kitchen Live?
I love it, it’s great fun, exhilarating and terrifying. I meet interesting people and hang out with other chefs, so it’s like a social club and we get to drink at 10.30 in the morning! Plus, it hopefully makes viewers think, ‘Perhaps I will try cooking that dish tonight.’
Were you nervous taking over from James Martin?
I was, but you just have to be yourself. I didn’t get into, ‘Am I going to be better than James? Are people going to like me?’
If you do that, you're going to fall flat on your face. There are other people who could do this; I was just very lucky, and it really is a privilege doing it.
What are your viewers like?
I get a real mix of people watching because it’s shown on a Saturday morning, from kids who want to get into cooking to professional chefs who try to catch you out!
What’s the scariest thing about doing a live show? Accidentally swearing – I soon learned that! Chefs are notorious for using bad language at work, so you have to be very careful you don’t slip up. The fear keeps you alive!
If I could do it with my eyes shut, it wouldn’t be interesting to watch.
You always ask your guests about their food heaven and food hell, what’s yours?
For heaven, I love pretty much everything, but especially Chinese food or pork belly. Food done simply but nicely – nothing too fancy and no foams, none of that nonsense. Hell is tripe. It looks horrible and tastes worse. How can you make a cow’s stomach tasty?
What was it like going to South Africa for your Good Food show? It’s a journey through South African food, history and culture, and it was a lovely adventure. South Africa was cut off for a long period of time due to apartheid, but this trip smashed all my preconceived ideas about the country. I found that it is a beautiful place with so much going for it.
What did you discover there? They love barbecues! They call them braais and they make our barbecues look ridiculous because they have all these huge cuts of meat in marinades. It’s a very male-dominated area, but I met an amazing female butcher who teaches women to barbecue.
You also met Nelson Mandela’s chef, what did she reveal?
She was fascinating. She told me that when Mandela came to the UK to meet Tony Blair, he stayed at a posh hotel and said he wouldn’t come out of his room until he had had his ‘pap’, which is maize porridge, often with sour yoghurt. They sent it on a plane to him. I loved him for that.
What’s next for you?
More Food Unwrapped for C4, but we’re also talking of doing a nice show going around the world drinking beer. When I moan about having to go off somewhere, my daughter [Jessica, 15] says sarcastically, ‘Oh, it must be hard being you, flying off and getting paid to go somewhere interesting’. That keeps me in check!
Matt hosts Saturday Kitchen
Live every other week
Matt has fun on his culinary trip across South Africa
Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder for Matt