Matt Tebbutt: ‘I love buying big Toblerones at the airport’

Matt Tebbutt, 50, is the presenter of the BBC1 series Saturday Kitchen. He trained at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London and has worked for Marco Pierre White and Alastair Little. He lives with his wife, Lisa, in Monmouthshire, where they owned the Foxhunter Inn for 13 years until 2014.

The couple have two adult children, Jessie and Henry.

I grew up greedy. I loved coming home from school, getting a jar of Hellmann's mayonnaise and dipping Twiglets into it, which is probably why I was so fat. Back then we would go on holiday to Brittany and Normandy every year.

The four of us and the dog would turn up with this tiny caravan in the middle of the night so the campsite gate was always locked. My parents didn't speak French and we always got a rubbish spot at the back. But I remember the food most of all: fish soup, snails, fantastic cakes, polystyrene cups of pickled mushrooms and dimly lit bistros with candles stuck in wine bottles.

When I became a chef I was given two weeks off a year.

That was it. Can you imagine what I was like on the plane ride home knowing that was it for another year? I just wanted a beach, six o'clock sunset cocktails and for my kids to swim in the sea.

My uncle used to have a house on the beach in Barbados so we'd go there, drink rum punch and eat the spicy nachos he had made. We took the kids to some lovely places in St Lucia -- Windjammer Landing and St James's Club Morgan Bay -- but the little sods can't remember it now because they were too young.

San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico

San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico GETTY IMAGES

I don't mind roughing it.

When you do things with TV companies they are always quite cheap so you go to places that you'd never normally visit, such as San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico. It's up in the hills and has twinkly lights and bunting everywhere. It's an interesting place.

In the 1990s it was the scene of an uprising against the government by the Zapatistas and people there still wear red bandanas in support. We had some time off so we mooched around, drinking tequila and finding places to eat. They had a delicious street snack that was a whole chargrilled head of corn smeared in mayonnaise and rolled in cheese and chilli.

I was blown away by the food in Argentina.

You can't get a vegetable for love or money, but if you like steak there's nowhere better. They have roadside grills instead of service stations where they cook all the cheaper cuts like offal and kidneys and serve them with chimichurri sauce. It's delicious.

Buenos Aires has such a sexy vibe. It's like a European capital but run-down and crumbly, with salsa and tango music coming from every window and people dancing in the park at midnight.


o All eyes are on Argentina -- here's why you should visit now[1]

One of my best holidays was to New Orleans. In January 1994, after university, I flew to Vancouver, Canada, with a friend, bought a little Suzuki Swift and drove through the US to avoid the snow because it was one of the worst winters they'd had for years.

Eventually we arrived in New Orleans, three days after Mardi Gras. It's such a party town. There was music everywhere, great bourbon and people just loving life.

I like jazz and I came across this big crowd outside the town hall with two guys duelling on a piano. I asked what was going on and found out it was Harry Connick Jr and his father, who was the district attorney.

My son recently moved to Scotland and driving up there has given me the chance to visit some lovely places on the way. I'd forgotten how attractive the Lake District is because I hadn't been there since I was a kid.

Yorkshire is gorgeous too. You get off the motorway and stumble across these places that are blow-you-away beautiful. I live on the Offa's Dyke Path by the Brecon Beacons [Bannau Brycheiniog] and it's like a different world: great for hiking, cycling and horse riding.

You don't have to travel far in Wales to get off the beaten track. The weather's not always going to be great but the scenery is stunning.

I get excited about anything to do with travel -- I even love buying big Toblerone bars from duty-free, not to mention the fact that you can have a beer in the airport at 10am.

Now we're planning bigger, better holidays so the kids will still want to come with us. I'd like to go to Japan, or walk the Inca Trail in Peru, or backpack around South America.

I'm trying to get Lisa, my wife, on board but she always seems to have the wrong shoes for that sort of thing.

Wherever we go I drive the family mad because the first thing I want when we get home is to go for a Chinese.Matt Tebbutt is an ambassador for PoB Hotels and has designed his own PoB foodie break (


Sign up for our Times Travel newsletter and follow us on Instagram and X[2][3]


  1. ^ All eyes are on Argentina -- here's why you should visit now (
  2. ^ Times Travel newsletter (
  3. ^ Instagram (