The Weekender Interview: Tom Aikens

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Tom Aikens Tom Kitchen
Tom Aikens is one of the UK's best known chefs and the youngest ever to be awarded two Michelin stars. He now runs four Tom's Kitchen restaurants - three in the UK and one in Istanbul - alongside Pots, Pans & Boards in Dubai and The Pawn in Hong Kong.

What image do you currently have on your phone’s wallpaper?
My two daughters Josie and Violette dressed up for Halloween. 

What was your first job?
Working at the Mirabelle restaurant at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne at 18. 

Gordon or Marco? 
Neither. For me it would be between Pierre Koffmann and Joël Robuchon. 

What was the last film you saw in the cinema? 
Something from Disney most likely.

What is your guiltiest food pleasure?  
Vanilla ice cream. 

Where are you going on your next holiday?
The Caribbean.

What industry figure do you most admire (and why)? 
Alain Ducasse as he is a true Jedi master, the man is a genius of control and consistency.

If you weren’t in restaurants, what would you do? 
Most likely an athlete for some extreme sport or a jump jockey.

Biggest regret?
Not travelling more for work, after leaving Joël Robuchon in Paris. 

Pet hate?
An untidy work bench. 

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
"I will get you!" This was the response after I called the police to come and kick out a customer. After they marched him out, he sent me a letter a few days later saying he was watching me and knew where I lived.

Marmite: love it or hate it?
Love it. 

Describe your cooking style in three words
Passionate. Limitless. Extreme. 

What country do you next want to visit?

Most overrated food?
Not sure. I love everything.

Restaurant czar for a day – what would you implement?
50% rent reduction Mondays. 

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
In his first review of Tom Aikens, AA Gill gave me 1 out of 5.

What made you want to become a chef?
My mother. She helped me realise this was exactly what I wanted to do from the age of 12.

What do you cook at home on your days off?
At the moment, I love making sourdough bread.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Try to think ahead. Having a 10-15 year plan of where you want to go and what you want to achieve will help you stay focused.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
I had a kitchen steel that I had for many years from when I was at Joël Robuchonin Paris. I bought it from Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen, a flea market in the 18th arrondissement. I loved it because it was as old as me - born in 1970 - and could sharpen anything to a ninja blade. Then someone nicked it.

iPhone or Android?

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Never give up no matter what’s thrown at you (David Cavalier).

What’s your earliest memory? 
Dragging a whole meal through my parents’ house on bed sheets when I was three years old. It was a meal that my mother had prepared for some special clients of my fathers that were coming for lunch. They were not impressed.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?

Twitter or Instagram?

Tipple of choice?
Whiskey sour.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
An aged rib eye from a 15-year-old Galician Dairy cow, charred on a roaring fire, served with triple cooked chips and lashings of béarnaise. 

Related topics: People

Related news

Show more


Follow us

Hospitality Guides

View more

Featured Suppliers

All suppliers