MATTHEW Barker, who owns and runs the award-winning Westwood Restaurant in East Yorkshire with his twin sister Michele, was born with the restaurant business in his blood.

His parents ran the hugely popular Rockingham Arms in Lockington, together with other successful restaurants in the area, and Mr Barker wanted to follow in their footsteps for as long as he can remember.

He had the best possible training with mentors such as Sir Richard Branson at Virgin Atlantic, working as food development manager for Asia and America and responsible for the food and beverage for the upper class lounges globally, before opening the Westwood, located in a grand old Georgian courthouse in Beverley, in 2007.

Mr Barker said: “We are having an amazing year. What is especially pleasing as well was that we have a steady stream of customers, both regulars and new, throughout the week. We are consistently busy.

“At the same time, we are delighted to receive a number of exceptional reviews, in national and regional papers and magazines, as well as online and social media.

“In particular, it is very gratifying to be named in Open Table’s 100 Best Restaurants in the UK for the past three years, an accolade of which we are extremely proud. We were one of only two restaurants in the whole of Yorkshire to make Open Table’s top 100, which is voted for by diners themselves.”

Away from work, he loves to spend time with his family in his home town of Beverley, visiting the Saturday market, browsing in the wonderful food stalls and catching up with friends.

He also enjoys riding his road bike, which is the perfect way to appreciate Yorkshire’s beautiful scenery. As his wife is Italian, the family also spend a lot of time in Italy to unwind with friends and family.

What job would you like to have other than your own and why?

A professional cyclist, I love being outdoors.

Greatest achievement?

Building a successful restaurant business in Yorkshire over ten years and creating a great reputation for good food and good service.

What makes you most angry?

When customers ‘no show’ for reservations, as our waiting list some nights mean we can fill the restaurant twice over.

Biggest mistake?

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules, you learn by doing and by falling over.” Quote by my previous employer, Sir Richard Branson.

What do you need to make life complete?

More time with my family would be great, other than that it’s pretty much complete.

Why do you make a difference?

Hopefully I make a difference to the people that work for me. I’m fortunate that I have a great team around me that have been with me for many years. In my business, it is so important that you surround yourself with like-minded people who are passionate about food and offering customers a great experience. Ultimately my staff are more important to my business than my customers.


Dad first, husband second, chef third.