In the Kitchen: Meet Matthew the PE Teacher

By Dec 2, 2018 healthy

When we think about Matthew Allen Thomas, 28, we get a warm feeling in our heart. Matthew is a PE teacher in Dubai GEMS Wellington Academy, and a long-term Hello Chef customer.

Matthew teaches primary school children to run, jump and throw. His active lifestyle keeps the body moving, but he likes his mind at rest. That is: no fuss with planning what to cook and no shopping for groceries.

“I just really appreciate the peace in knowing that all the ingredients are there waiting for us. When we come home, we just need to cook the food.”

Matthew has been on a culinary adventure since subscribing to the Hello Chef service. Equipped with a selection of low-carb meals he cooks way more often than he did two years ago.

“I’ve become much more confident in the kitchen!”

Over these past two years Matthew has experimented with vegan and family boxes, but has always come back to his favourite, the low-carb box. Now that he gets the new Choice Box with 16 different recipes to choose from, he can experiment more often.

“We’ve started to opt for some family-friendly recipes, as well as for the Gourmet recipes, which I think are really cool”, says Matthew.

Experiments have paid off. A while ago Matthew had a pleasant experience with something he used to dislike.

“Peas! We had a meal that came with buttery green peas, seasoned with salt and pepper only. They were great! So, now I’m back on peas”, he laughs.

Being a loyal customer, Matthew has even participated in one of Hello Chef’s cooking shows. He was a member of the jury that chose a winning home chef recipe. It was Kinga’s Chicken Soup with Kohlrabi and Sour Cream, which has since appeared on the Hello Chef menu a couple of times.

Hello Chef folks that have gotten to know Matthew consider him to be a great role model for the children he teaches. He is a balanced eater who cooks healthy meals from Sunday to Wednesday, and feels guilt-free about having something indulgent over the weekend.

“We often stick to quite healthy choices from Thursday to Saturday as well, but occasional burgers and pizzas don’t matter as much when you’re cooking nutritious food on weeknights”, he says.

Matthew’s favourite Hello Chef recipe is a low-carb Zucchini and Beef Lasagna with Ricotta and Parsley. Check it out below!

Zucchini and Beef Lasagna with Ricotta and Parsley

Serves 2

Cooking time 40 min


2 large or 3 medium zucchinis

1 tsp salt

60g grated mozzarella

40g rocket, for serving

Beef sauce:

1 red onion

4 garlic cloves

1 Tbsp olive oil

400g beef mince

400g chopped tomatoes

2 tsp basil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

150g spinach

Ricotta sauce:

150g ricotta

1 egg

20g fresh parsley

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper


1. Slice the zucchinis lengthwise and cut the slices to 10cm long pieces. Arrange on a baking paper and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 10 minutes, then wipe off the extra liquid with kitchen paper.

2 Make the beef sauce. Peel and mince onion and garlic. Fry the onion in a hot pan in oil for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1–2 minutes. Set aside for a while.

3. Add a bit of oil and fry the beef mince until nicely browned. Bring the onion and garlic back to the pan. Add chopped tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper. Bring to a light simmer, and let stew, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add washed spinach, and cook for about 3 more minutes.

4. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, egg, and chopped fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Lightly grease an oven casserole. Spread 1/3 of the beef sauce on the bottom. Add 1/3 of the zucchini slices. Top with 1/3 of the ricotta mixture. Continue making 2 more layers.  Sprinkle the top with grated mozzarella.

5. Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes until nicely browned. Let rest for 5 minutes and serve with washed fresh rocket.