Getting to know chef Matthew Foxon of 54 on Bath

The team at the restaurant has a lot of fun creating the menus, and is not shy to try new things.

Since his formative years in Durban, Matthew Foxon has always had a deep fascination with food.

It was this affinity for all things culinary that led to him, now as an adult and resident of Joburg, becoming the executive chef of one of the country’s most luxurious hotels. He chats to us about his journey with food.

1. Have you always wanted to cook?

I’ve wanted to be a chef from the age of seven. I was raised in and around hotels and kitchens my whole life.

2. How long does it take to reach your level?

I’ve been doing this for 19 years and had my first shot at head chef at the age of 24. I had to work and push myself even harder than older and more experienced chefs. I wouldn’t change a thing, though.

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3. What’s it like running the kitchen at 54 on Bath?

It’s a very well-organised kitchen now. But if you had asked me about two years ago, I would say it was a theme park with some pretty big roller-coasters. The team and I have a lot of fun creating our menus and we all really look forward to our wine evenings and themed tasting menus.

Recently, we launched our chefs table for six to seven people, which can be booked through the hotel’s reservations desk.

4. Where do you find inspiration for your dishes?

The seasons are my biggest inspiration and I love finding new local products. I will have a wave of ideas. For example, I just found a local sea trout in Hermanus.

5. Any famous people you’ve served at 54 on Bath?

We have had prime ministers, heads of state and royals stay with us at 54 and continue to host a lot of top brass on a daily basis at our conference facility.

6. What sets 54 on Bath apart from most establishments?

We are fortunate to be a close team with the same ambitions, and that drives us every day to be better than the previous day. We’re not shy to try new things and venture out of our comfort zones. Our service delivery is second to none.

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7. Name your best and worst food memories?

My best is when my gorgeous wife spoiled me to a dinner at Italy’s Osteria Francescana restaurant, which was number one in the world at the time. My worst was eating an avocado for the first time. I ate it with the skin on.

8. Your advice for someone considering food as a career?

Don’t do it! If you don’t have an absolute passion, this is not the right industry for you. You will sacrifice almost everything in this industry. You have to love this to keep doing it.

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