Mat Follas, The Wild Garlic


Mat was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, where his father had been posted with the New Zealand Navy. Although he grew-up in New Zealand, Mat has spent most of his adult life in England and has made the UK his home. However, when it comes to rugby, his loyalty remains firmly with New Zealand and he has been, and always will be, a supporter of the ‘All Blacks’; he concedes to supporting England during ‘The Six Nations’ each February, and when they play Australia.

Mat’s background is in engineering. Beginning with an apprenticeship at the Naval Dockyards in Auckland, NZ, his career took him to Melbourne, Australia and then to London, before returning to New Zealand to gain a degree in Electronics & Computer Science as a mature student. Mat loves to travel widely, spending time in Central Europe, North America and South East Asia, including a period living in Thailand teaching people to scuba dive. This wide exposure to different cultures and food is reflected in his cooking influences.

Cooking at a high level came late to Mat. After moving to West Dorset with his family in 2002, Mat discovered that British waters offer great scuba diving opportunities, and with that came lots of fresh seafood, an interest in cooking became an obsession culminating in winning the popular TV series BBC MasterChef in 2009 and opening and running his own restaurant The Wild Garlic to considerable acclaim. The Wild Garlic was given some of the highest scores ever by The Guardian 9½/10 and The Telegraph 9/10, it has also been awarded 2 AA Rosettes and is recommended in The Good Food Guide, The Michelin guide and listed as a rising star in the Trencherman’s guide.