Matthew Kemp is one of Australia’s most well recognised and respected chefs. He was born in the UK and now calls Australia his home. He has worked with and for some of the best restaurants in the business. Matthew’s passion for food and cooking started early and proved to be in his blood.
“By the time I was thirteen I knew I wanted to cook. There were no ifs, ands or buts,” says Matthew Kemp. Kemp’s mother was a waitress and she got him his first job at “a two-bit café in Essex”. At age sixteen she helped him secure an apprenticeship at a catering company.
“Everything I took at school from age fourteen on was all about cooking. I took French because it’s the language of food; art for the creativity and knowledge of aesthetic presentation; and chemistry so I could understand the basics of gastronomy.”
Since his early years in Essex, Kemp has concentrated his skills at restaurants around the world. He worked at some of London’s finest hotels and restaurants including The Square, a Michelin two-starred restaurant. “Phillip Howard, the head chef, taught me so much about food, says Kemp.
Matthew worked as Chef de Cuisine at the legendary but now defunct, Banc. “It was amazing what we achieved there. Within a year and a half of my being there it got three hats, scored 18/20 in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and won Best Restaurant of the Year.”
He opened his own restaurant ‘Restaurant Balzac’ in 2000 at The Spot in Randwick and then due to demand he moved to larger premises in the heart of Randwick Junction. In the following years he opened other venues such as ”the billingsgate fish bistro”, “the Burlington bar & dining”, “Two small rooms” and in January 2011 he decided to expand his portfolio and went into partnership with Jeremy Bentley to open a new restaurant “The Devonshire”.
Later, with a wall full of awards, industry respect, a successful and popular restauranteur. Matthew decided to shake things up a bit and close Restaurant Balzac. He relaunched the business in September 2011 as The Montpellier Public House.
Having had a lot of fun running his own businesses he decided to finish up and start working with “the Keystone Group”, to work on various existing and new venues with concept designs and menus, while running the acclaimed “Gazebo Wine Garden”.
Matthew helped relaunch The Charing Cross Hotel in Waverley, in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs. While at this Gastro pub he won the coveted AHA Chef of the Year for NSW.
After 18 Months it was on to the next challenge to take the reins of the boutique hotel in Manly ‘The Quarantine Station Hotel’ with guide to bring the food across the whole property up to an international standard.
Matthew’s philosophy is to simply provide fresh, seasonal, quality, affordable food that offers something for all tastes.