Flash-grilled: Tom Peters

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash grilled with Masterchef: The Professionals finalist and Bob Bob Ricard head chef Tom Peters

Related tags: Bob bob ricard, Restaurant, London, Chef, Fine dining

The former Masterchef: The Professionals finalist, who took over the stoves at Bob Bob Ricard last year, on how he got his start in the industry and his long-held admiration of Thomas Keller.

What was your first industry job?
My first kitchen job was working as a kitchen porter in small restaurant called Annie Jones in Petersfield, my hometown, at the age of 14. I fell in love with the environment of the kitchen more so than washing dishes, and it was that enthusiasm and curiosity that led me on the path to becoming a chef.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do? 
This is a question that I get asked a lot, and to be honest I have no idea, I’ve always been massively into sport, not that I would ever consider myself good enough to make it as a professional. 

What industry figure do you most admire, and why? 
From the early days of my career I was always reading about Thomas Keller - not only for running some of the best kitchens in the world, but upon reading Bouchon and hoping one day to be able to master some of the recipes from it.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
White socks and bandanas.

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
I take inspiration from the season and ingredients, not just the most premium ones either; it's easy to come up with dishes using scallops, for example, but to treat fruit and vegetables with the same respect and diligence is what I love.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Don’t rush to try and get the ladder, get yourself into a kitchen where you can spend a few years, surround yourself with good people, learn the basics and understand the foundations. It’s very cliché to say but don’t jump around and spend six months here and six months there. It’s important to make the right decisions early on and that is fundamentally finding the right kitchen to be in. 

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
Digital scales 100% - they are the key to consistency and precision.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Without a doubt toad in the hole, with mash and red onion gravy.

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
The famous Cronut by Dominique Ansel.

Restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
I would blacklist no-shows.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
When I was young my brother told me to scratch my name, with a brick, into our Neighbours car bonnet. And I did so, without hesitation...

Favourite food and drink pairing? 
Hot chocolate and ‘Original’ Pringles.

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