Azzeddine Mataam has been a chef with Bateaux London for six years and has many more years in the industry. We asked him about his passion for food and his special Valentineâ€™s Day menu as well as finding out about other exciting future plans.
Hi Azzi, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. We know youâ€™re busy with Valentine's Day coming up, how is this going?
Itâ€™s going well! Weâ€™ve had two tastings and we have now decided on our final version. We wanted this Valentineâ€™s Day Dinner Menu to be light, fresh and seasonal, pushing the creativity to design dishes that stimulate curiosity. The last thing we want to do is send our couples to sleep!
How is Valentineâ€™s Day different from other days?
For us it isn't different because we work equally hard on every menu we create. As chefs, we know how much our energy translates into our work and the food that we cook and so we need to be positive and to have the love of food so it shows in the dish. But of course Valentine's Day is a particularly romantic evening and so we have made sure that this is reflected in our menu â€“ and the evening as a whole.
With food trends always evolving how do you stay ahead of the curve?
The food scene is changing so quickly and people are getting more and more demanding with quality. I love looking at the new trends and creating new dishes in response to these changes â€“ whilst adding my own special touches. I always get inspired with the season and with fresh ingredients and I enjoy bringing ideas together and creating combinations with flavours that complement each other to produce highly inventive dishes.
And so, talking of changing seasons, what plans are there for Bateaux London as we leave winter?
I am looking forward to it being a bit warmer! And that will be reflected in our menu. For example, for the summer we are devising a bespoke menu; a â€˜Taste of the Caribbeanâ€™ themed cruise for private events. And there will be plenty of other changes we make to our spring menus too!
We know this is a little late now but weâ€™ll ask anyway! Do you have any New Yearâ€™s resolutions?
I want to continue to inspire other chefs, and to leave a good impression on others. And to still have fun at work â€“ I love my job!