Kitchen Reporter: The Old Bank City Pub & Chop House

Kitchen Re-Porter – The Old Bank City Pub and Chop House

26-year-old Matt Rayson is the owner and head chef at The Old Bank City Pub and Chop House in Carlisle. He has been working in the catering industry since he was just 13-years-old and has climbed the ladder to eventually owning his own restaurant. Having recently opened the doors to his new eatery after an eight day refurbishment, we spoke to Matt on his love for baking, his food pet peeves and how he managed to get Marco Pierre White’s phone number.

1.What is your favourite ingredient and why?

That is a hard question but I think I will have to say chocolate. Everybody loves chocolate and there’s so much you can do with it. But, on a savoury note local lamb and beef is up there with my favourite ingredients.

2.What would be your last supper?

I would say the biggest T-bone steak you could find. I love T-Bone; it’s a bit of everything. And I would have to have it with proper homemade chips done in beef dripping.

3. Who is your favourite celebrity chef and why?

Marco Pierre White, not only do I think he’s an absolute god, but I actually have his phone number in my phone. My uncle used to work for Virgin Atlantic and he was on one of the flights he was working on. He got chatting to Marco and told him all about me working as a chef, so he offered up his phone number to offer some advice. I’m actually blowing up a picture of him smoking in a kitchen and putting it in the restaurant. I just love him.

4. What is your idea of food hell?

Definitely microwave meals and pre-packaged veg. I am a strong believer in making everything fresh and from scratch. If you are going to do it, do it properly.

5. What’s the strangest ingredient you have ever cooked with?

A lot of pig – pigs head, pig’s ear, that was a recent one, cooked it up into these pork scratchings. I’ve also done cow’s feet. It’s mainly pig orientated it seems.

6. Who does all the cooking at home?

It is mainly me; I like to cook roast dinners and whatever I can get hold of mainly. I also do a lot of fish.

7. What is your favourite cuisine?

It has to be British – we are a British restaurant, and it is what we are based on. My favourite British meal is probably toad in the hole. I love Yorkshire puddings and it just has to be a Cumberland sausage.

8. What is your first memory of the kitchen?

I used to cook a lot with my nanna, we did a lot of baking together. I also remember going to my nanna and granddad’s on a Thursday and she would cook proper chips in beef dripping.

9. What is your ultimate comfort food?

Ice cream. If it’s not local ice cream then it has to be Ben and Jerry’s Cookie dough.

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