VEGANUARY in Manchester is mourning a major casualty. Matt Nutter, the chef who put plant-based fine dining on the map in these parts has quit his restaurant Allotment on Lloyd Street for personal reasons.
He posted this message on Facebook: “Really happy to announce that I’ll be leaving the Allotment in less than two weeks and my good friend Adam Leavy (ex Damson and Abode, former Masterchef semi-finalist) will be taking the reins and killing it in the kitchen as the new head chef.
“It’s been a long long three years to get to were I am today, and it’s destroyed me and made me in so many ways. It’s time for me to take a long break from the intensity of that restaurant and concentrate on being a dad and half decent partner to Siobhan.
“Thank you to the many many people that have supported the restaurant over the years.
It’s an incredible feeling to have created something with Siobhan that we can look back on and be proud of.”
The food and drink business can take a heavy toll. It’s less than three months since the Manchester Food and Drink Awards Chef of the Year 2017 made the leap from his Stockport bistro to the the city centre with the help of a financial backer with a background in bars and clubs.
Even as he arrived he was seeking a better work-life relationship, controversially choosing to just work daytimes producing his acclaimed vegan tasting menus, leaving his staff to operate just snacks and a three courser in to the evening.
Reviews were mixed. What has never been in doubt is the quality of his own cooking, which ToM garlanded with five stars on our first visit to his place in Vernon Street, Stockport.
We wrote at the time: “It helps that Nutter comes from a background in gourmet kitchens such as Mike Jennings’ much-missed Grenache in Walkden. He has the skills and has given himself a challenge. Following his own personal fitness/marathon regime, he realised he needed to shed the ‘luxury’ accoutrements of standard ‘fine dining’. Does he succeed? Triumphantly.”
Like Matthew, his successor Adam Leavy (above) – who shares his love for tattoos – comes from a mainstream cheffing background. In 2013 he wowed judges on Masterchef: The Professionals with hay roasted lamb, girolles, cauliflower couscous and verjus vinaigrette. So it will be fascinating to see what spin he puts on Matthew’s innovative vegan legacy.
Allotment on Lloyd Street, 18-22 Lloyd St, Manchester M2 5WA. 0161 478 1331.