Matt Steams Ahead for Mayoral Visit

The heat was on for Donisthorpe Hall’s sous chef Matt Gomersall when he cooked an award-worthy meal for the Lord and Lady Mayoress of Leeds.

Donisthorpe Hall Lord Mayor Sonia King
The Lord Mayor with Donisthorpe resident Sonia King

Matt, who does body building as a hobby, swapped bar bells for the less challenging task of grating cheese and frying fish when he set out his scrummy dish before the Mayoral party and the care-home’s senior management.

The home’s second-in-command chef really wowed the luncheon guests with his home-cooked recipe.

Matt has already set his sights on a national care home competition with his dish but he admitted to be slightly nervous at trying it out first to the city’s top citizens.

He cooked to perfection a menu that consisted of tomato and red basil consommé, served with Welsh rarebit, a pan fried cod with citrus Hollandaise, accompanied with potato terrine and asparagus and followed with a dark chocolate and orange truffle served with a toasted almond brittle.

The Lord Mayor, Cllr Tom Murray, on his first official visit and tour of the Moortown home said the meal was “beautifully presented and delicious” and gave his compliments first hand when Matt and head chef Mick Walsh popped in after the meal to see how it all went down.

“I love food and creating new dishes,” Matt says. “Creating a meal for the Lord Mayor was a great honour and I’m glad everyone enjoyed the menu.”

Leeds-born Matt, who’s worked at Donisthorpe for nearly seven years, said he had no interest in cooking until he went to work in his mum’s pub in London and experimented with food in the kitchen.

The Mayoral party went on a conducted tour of the home stopping to chat to many residents and members of staff.

The Lady Mayoress, Edna Murray, said, there was a lovely warm atmosphere and everyone appeared “kind and welcoming.”

She added: “There’s also a wonderful sense of community here, one senses it as soon as one enters.

“I am in awe at how the community cares for all age groups, from the very young to the very old.”

Cooking a meal for twelve people is a novelty for Matt because at Donisthorpe he usually cooks for some 183 residents and staff.

Sous chef Matt preparing lunch for the Lord Mayor
Sous chef Matt preparing lunch for the Lord Mayor

Getting praise for his innovative well-balanced dishes is a far cry from Matt’s amateur body-building competition when he was on show in front of hundreds of spectators at Leeds Town Hall.

“Body building is just a hobby. I don’t aim to be professional I just do it to keep fit,” said the 30-year old.

Working at the Moortown care home Matt has learned a lot about nutrition which he claims is highly important especially for older people and  vital for their energy.

Matt always asks if residents enjoy their meals and is continually receiving requests, but although it’s a mixed bag he says their most wanted dish seems to be a national favourite.

“They love their fish and chips on a Thursday — now that’s a real winner,” he laughs.

By John Fisher