Leed chef Matt Healy on getting the right ingredients for first year at The Foundry

By The Newsroom
Friday, 11th January 2019, 7:50 am
Updated Friday, 11th January 2019, 8:01 am

Chef Matt Healy at The Foundry.

Opening his own restaurant, being named best newcomer in Yorkshire and best place for a Sunday dinner, being invited to take part in a Masterchef Christmas special and cooking for a world champion boxer ... it is fair to say Matt Healy had all the right ingredients for a successful year.

Now the Leeds chef is hoping for more of the same in 2019 with his restaurant Matt Healy x The Foundry at Holbeck.“To have my name above the door was something I had only dreamed of before. It was what I was hoping for but has gone better than I expected”, he admits.

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When he took on the restaurant from its previous owners with its renowned reputation amongst the city’s food and drink scene, he says it could have gone one of two ways but sticking to its fine dining roots while putting his own stamp on it is paying off.

He said: “People could have said we will not go there because of this new kid but we have lots of new faces and people migrating to that part of town. The dynamic is brilliant and we are seeing people come back. Holbeck now reminds me of Hoxton where I lived in London with chefs, creative people, and dare I say it hipsters with beards and tattoos. If we can get more people down there it will help everybody.”

Healy has marketed himself savvy and well though.

A former Masterchef; The Professionals finalist in 2016, he took part in a rematch show, which aired over Christmas, and having Josh Warrington ask for a table the night before his fight against Carl Frampton and posting it on his Instagram account brought the kind of publicity you can’t really buy.

Masterchef judge Marcus Waring filming at Healy's restaurant for the Christmas show.

He said: “I got a call about Masterchef when I had only been open for five weeks. I loved the show and always said if I got a second crack at it I would jump at the chance and then judge Marcus Waring is having lunch in my restaurant.“It was actually really nerve-wracking. For me it was the taking part. I was representing the city, the restaurant and my team and wanted to do well for them.”

He didn’t win but certainly didn’t lose out. Within the hour the show was on there had been 140 bookings at The Foundry and in the following days the website had 100,000 hits. You would now be hard pressed to get a table this month between Thursday and a Saturday.

Healy says: “That for a new restaurant in January in itself is pretty phenomenal. It would be silly money to buy that kind of advertising. People didn’t know we were there.”

They do now and he was given a helping hand by Josh Warrington who asked if he could eat at Healy’s restaurant with his team the night before he retained his IBF Featherweight belt.

Healy said: “He wanted to go for dinner but not in town so we created a table for them. They had strict instructions on what they could eat so they had chicken, spinach and pasta. I can say we feed world champions. It was completely off piste and nothing we would normally do but he is a kid from Leeds going for a world fight, I would have cooked him fish and chips if he wanted.

“It was massive kudos for us and for 2019 there are plans to progress into more TV work. The way things have gone from that, it would be foolish not to. People hear you on TV, the radio and see you in the papers and it creates a buzz that people want to be part of.”