This week, we have had the pleasure of sitting down with Matty White, a producer, presenter and star of his own food and drink podcast. With a remarkable career spanning two decades in the media industry, starting from the BBC, Matty’s journey includes the creation and hosting of the renowned “Fodder” Food and Drink Podcast series, offering his audience a dive into the culinary wonders of Manchester and the fascinating stories that accompany them.
We decided to catch up with Matty White to discuss his life, career as a presenter and what his top 5 food recommendations are for Manchester.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. Please tell us a bit about your background and how you came to be a presenter.
I think like a lot of kids I always wanted to be a TV presenter. I’d always record tapes in my bedroom pretending to be a radio presenter. Fast forward to leaving school and I knew I wanted to study media at college and then at university. Took me a while, but I eventually ended up working at BBC Radio Manchester. I started at the bottom, working for free and covering overnight shows (when no one was listening).
Eventually, I got my own show. A food and drink programme called “Matt Whites Gourmet Night” I did not name it, I can not stress that enough! Since then I’ve run radio stations, such as XS Manchester, produced national shows and presented on Channel 4 on Stephs Packed Lunch. I’ve been lucky.
The best job I’ve had is my current work for Manchesters Finest. Going into restaurants, chatting with the owners, and hearing their stories. But best of all – eating their food.
Where does your love for food come from?
Food wasn’t a big thing for me growing up. We were a working-class family with not a great deal of cash. Dinners, like a lot of other people, consisted of crispy pancakes and fish fingers. It wasn’t until I’d left home and started working in the restaurant industry that I realised what good food was like. I fell in love with it instantly.
Manchester has become such a hub for food, with the likes of Mcrfinest playing a huge part in restaurant awareness. What do you think is still missing, what would like to see in Manchester?
I’m not too sure much is missing, other than better government support. Like anywhere at the moment, places are struggling. We’re forever seeing that restaurants, bars, cafes and pubs are closing down. It’s sad to see. But to counteract that we’re also seeing new places opening all the time. It’s a constant rotation. We’ve got an absolute abundance of decent places in the city, ranging from greasy spoons to a Michelin-star restaurant
Who has been your most memorable interviewee so far, and why?
I’ve interviewed a mad cross-section of people; Liam Gallagher, Mr. Tumble, the Director General of MI5. But it’s when I chat with real people that you get the best stories. I remember going along to record a piece on “Not Just Soup” an initiative feeding homeless people in Manchester. I met this guy in the queue who had been homeless for years.
He called himself the “Jay Raynor of the streets” he’d basically go along to different charity soup kitchens giving them a review. He’d give five out of ten if it was well cooked, six or seven if it was nutritionally balanced, and eight or above if it was exceptional.
His review of the soup kitchen we were at was:
“People feel dignified by this. I think people come here and feel like somebody gives a damn, that somebody has made an effort to cook for them.”
That really stuck with me. I’ve thought about him a lot since but never seen him again. Hopefully he’s doing alright.
You’re in the process of launching a food podcast, can you tell us a little bit about it and what people can expect?
Incredibly there is no food and drink podcast for Greater Manchester. I find that crazy considering how much we love our grub in the city. So I’m going to fill the gap. It’ll be called “Fodder” and it’ll feature chefs, cooks, producers, growers, farmers, brewers, eaters and drinkers. Celebrating all that’s food and drink in the region. Hopefully, people are going to like it. HOPEFULLY.
If we were to ask your 5 recommendations, what would the following be;
#1 Favourite restaurant in Manchester/ Greater Manchester for dinner?
This changes almost daily! But today, I’d have to say it’s Firehouse. It’s such a good spot, incredible chicken cooked over open flames, some of the best pitta in the city (made in-house) and they do an incredible Margarita (the cocktail, not the pizza). But they also do great pizza in their sister restaurant “Ramona” next door.
#2 Favourite brunch/lunch hotspot?
I’ve just discovered a place in Monton, Salford called Playfoots. It’s unreal. Get over there right this second and order the shin and oxtail birria eggs. You’ll thank me for it.
#3 New food spot you would recommend trying out?
House of Fu has literally just opened. Bringing their Tokyo and New York-inspired place from Leeds. The place looks great, so will have all the Instagrammers down, but also the food is spot on. Think ramen, rice bowls and gyoza. The mad heads have also whacked a karaoke bar in there too…
#4 Where and what was the best meal you have had?
Easy – Moore Hall. It’s a 40-minute drive from Manchester. Chef Patron, Mark Birchall is an absolute genius. We had the tasting menu, about 12 courses. I also had the matching wine flight.. so the latter courses are a bit blurry.
It had a Michelin star when we went – now it’s got 2. I wouldn’t be surprised if it got 3.
#5 Hidden gem, that everyone should know about?
Hidden gems are a bit of a buzzword. But truth be known they’re harder and harder to stumble across. With so many food bloggers and social media in general, things don’t stay hidden for long.
But there is a little place in Denton called Ornella’s. It’s phenomenal. Exceptional Italian cooking. It’s tiny though, so getting a table can be tricky if you don’t book.
Written by Hannah Needham