Mat Follas, winner of MasterChef 2009, has quashed rumours of a job offer at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons by accepting a summer stage at Le Gavroche instead.
Rumours circulating the national newspapers this week claimed Raymond Blanc was so impressed with Follas’s skill that he offered him a job at his restaurant in Oxfordshire. However, speaking with BigHospitality today, Follas denied the rumours, claiming he would instead be completing a stage at Le Gavroche in preparation for opening his own restaurant.
“I’ve had one phone call from a journalist who spoke to Raymond who said he might be interested and that’s it, so as far as I’m concerned he hasn’t offered me anything,” he said. “The only contact I’ve really had from anybody is Michel Roux Jr who came to me with an offer of a little experience in Le Gavroche over the summer, which I intend to take him up on.”
Follas continued to say that the plan to open a small restaurant in Dorset – to be called Wild Garlic – was still in motion, and that he had already spoken to several potential investors and head chefs, and seen many properties.
“Opening my own restaurant has always been the dream, and at the moment that’s what I’m working towards. The experience at Le Gavroche will be of great value, his cooking’s amazing and in a world of its own, so I’m sure I’ll take away a few good lessons from there.”
A spokesperson for Blanc also denied the rumour, and said: “While Raymond may have been impressed with Mat Follas’s performace on MasterChef, no job offer has been made.”
After winning the MasterChef title last month Follas gave up his prize of a stage in a Michelin-starred restaurant as he couldn’t ‘afford to go down to that income level,’ opting instead for support from mentor and MasterChef judge John Torode to open his own restaurant.