It was fishing trips with a friend that sparked Matthew Tomkinson’s desire to be a chef. When his fishing companion – a chef at a small French restaurant – told him about his job and what he was cooking, it captured his imagination: “I decided that’s what I wanted to do.” A-levels followed and then, on the insistence of his parents, university. Still convinced that cheffing was for him, he opted for Hospitality Management. During his placement year he secured an apprentice-chef position at a pub – most other students chose graduate management positions in large hotels – which he “absolutely loved”. A year at The Greenhouse (a vegetarian restaurant in Cheshire) followed, during which time he began to broaden his understanding of ingredients – particularly vegetables – and how to best to reflect their individual merits.