Our head chef, Craig Mather
Craig was brought up in Thanet and studied at Thanet College (now East Kent College) between 2003-2005, winning student of the year and also winning the Association Culinaire Française National Escoffier Challenge in 2005.
Knowing he wanted to learn fine dining cuisine, Craig spent 4 years at 1 Michelin-starred Mallory Court Country House Hotel in Leamington Spa under the leadership of Simon Haigh, before moving back to Kent after starting a family.
In 2009, Craig took on the challenge to start a restaurant within a fishmongers named Eddie Gilbert’s with the owner, Jonny Dunhill. Reviews in the Guardian, Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and Olive magazine helped the small restaurant blossom within a couple of months of opening.
Craig always liked the idea of teaching and, when a position became available at Thanet College in 2011, he jumped at the chance to become a lecturer. He spent over 5 years teaching the next generation of chefs.
Wanting to return to a kitchen full-time, Craig started at The Empire Room in July 2016 with a big push on his menus for local Kentish seasonal produce, cooked simply to allow the quality of the ingredients to thrive on every plate.
Craig and his team look forward to seeing you at the restaurant. Please feel free to say hello at the kitchen door if he’s unable to come out and see you in the restaurant.