Voice’s Chef of the month is Matt Dawkins of the Castle Inn. Voice caught up with the extremely talented gentleman, along with his sous-chef, Cai Jones, to find out what makes him tick. Here’s what he had to say:

Voice: How does it feel to be the only person to win Voice’s Chef of the Year on two separate occasions?

Matt: It’s a huge honour and something I am very proud to have achieved. I must echo that although it’s an individual award I wouldn’t be where I am today without my Team and very talented second Chef Cai Jones.

Voice: Over the past three years you’ve built up a firm following at the Castle Inn, what’s your secret to consistently offering great tasting food?

Matt: I now have 14-years’ experience in the trade and the passion to produce high quality food is the strongest it’s ever been. A happy kitchen can be identified from the product that reaches the table. I always ensure the presentation of a dish is exactly how I would want it served. The Castle Inn is finally staking it’s claim in the Monmouthshire food industry, something I’m very proud of after years of hard work.

Voice: What’s new on the menu for diners to sample this spring?

Matt: A new starter dish that I have been sampling on our Sunday Lunch menu will soon be joining the restaurant full time. ‘Taste of the Sea’ expresses my favourite seafood in one dish including mussels, prawns, crab and mackerel. Presented very delicately it’s gone down a storm with Sunday diners.

Voice: Who or what influences your cooking style?

Cai: All I’ve known is working alongside Matthew from our early days at The Star Llansoy to our current roles at The Castle Inn. It’s a pleasure working alongside someone with such attention to detail and how a dish is presented to the customer.

Voice: How much freedom does Head Chef Matt give you when creating new dishes?

Cai: Every time a seasonal menu changes we sit down together bringing our ideas to the table. Matt is very keen that his kitchen staff experience other local restaurants to keep in with the Monmouthshire way of dinning.

Voice: What would you say is your signature dish at The Castle Inn?

Cai: A dish we produce daily and I enjoy presenting would be our pan-fried seabass with lemon infused crushed new potato. One of the first dishes that Matthew taught me.

Voice: What do you love most about being a chef?

Cai: We thrive on busy services hence why I always enjoy weekends in the kitchen. Receiving positive feedback always puts a smile on our faces after a busy shift and makes the hard work worthwhile.

So, if you’re fancying a visit to the countryside this March, why not pop in to the Castle Inn of Usk to sample delicious cuisine from a multi award-winning chef?

The Castle Inn

Twyn Square, Usk, Monmouthshire NP15 1BH

01291 673037


Facebook: @CastleInnUSK