Luxury Family Hotels People: Matt Noonan, New Head Chef at New Park Manor, Shares a Summer Recipe
We’re delighted to introduce chef Matt Noonan into the fold at our Hampshire hotel. Matt is a great champion of local produce and talked to us about his plans to make the most of seasonal regional ingredients in the New Park Manor kitchen – and about his exciting plans for food and drink at the property.
Hello Matt, what was your journey to New Park Manor? Is cooking in your blood?
Very much so. My father owned the village shop and deli, and my mum was a great cook, so good-quality food was a way of life. In fact, my grandfather was a chef too, so my childhood really was all about food and cooking.
After training, I worked for a range of rather average restaurants in Southampton, which was monotonous. I wasn’t learning anything new. I finally landed on my feet at The Montagu Arms hotel, working with Matthew Tomkinson – somewhere challenging, with a good reputation. I learned an awful lot from Matthew – not just cooking techniques but also what constitutes a great plate of food.
How would you describe your own approach in the kitchen?
I’m simply sticking to what I know – quality, well-prepared food.
Tell us about your work at New Park Manor so far.
Well, we’ve just signed up to the New Forest Marque group, who have some great local suppliers that we’re taking on. I’m also sourcing a local forager to teach me about wild food – something I’m really out excited about.
And what are your plans?
Big things! We’re on an exciting journey to put New Park Manor firmly on the foodie map in the New Forest. My plans include poly tunnels, children’s vegetable gardens and cooking demos, and hopefully also growing our own produce. Being a family hotel, we’ll encourage kids to pick their own salad for dinner – something fun but that also reminds them where food comes from. But basically the aim is to produce very tasty, well-prepared food for our guests and locals.
Can you share a recipe with us?
I certainly can. I love serving the below dish to my friends and family. It’s full of vibrancy and fresh flavours – perfect for the start of summer.
Roast Cod, Vegetable Spaghetti, Linguini, Tomato Sauce and Black Olive Paste
800g cod loin in 200g portions
250g good-quality linguini
1 shallot, small-diced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1kg plum tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
50ml extra virgin rapeseed oil
50g black olives, blitzed in a food processer with a little rapeseed oil
Season the cod portions with sea salt and place in the fridge uncovered to firm up the texture. Using a mandolin, slice the carrot and courgette as thinly as you can, then using a kitchen knife slice thinly again lengthways to make the spaghetti. Sprinkle with a little table salt, toss through and set aside.
Gently heat the rapeseed oil and add the garlic. Sauté carefully until you have a light-golden colour, then add the shallot. Sweat for five minutes until very soft and translucent before adding the tomatoes. Simmer gently for 15-25 minutes. In the restaurant we blend and pass the sauce through a sieve, but it's just as delicious left chunky. Set aside and keep warm.
Heat some oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Pat the cod dry with some kitchen roll and lay in the pan. As the fish cooks, the flesh will turn opaque. Once it’s cooked 60% of the way up, turn it over and remove the pan from the heat. The residual heat from the pan will gently finish cooking the cod. To check if it’s properly cooked, drive a cocktail stick through the thickest part of the flesh. If there is no resistance, it’s cooked through.
Drop your pasta into boiling salted water and cook to the pack’s instructions. Add the vegetable spaghetti to the pasta for the last minute of cooking before draining. Toss with a little rapeseed oil, a squeeze of lemon and some chopped parsley.
Fill your serving bowls with the tomato sauce, top with the vegetable pasta, place the cod on top, then finish with a little dollop of olive paste on each one.