Tom Aikens

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This is about an English chef. For the restaurant he founded, see Tom Aikens (restaurant). For the Queensland politician, see Tom Aikens (politician)
Tom Aikens
Tom Aikens 2012.JPG
Born 1970 (age 43–44)
London, England
Education Hotel School at City College Norwich
Culinary career
Cooking style British cuisine
Desserts in Tom Aikens restaurant
Dessert in Tom Aikens restaurant

Tom Aikens (born 1970) is an English Michelin star winning head chef.

Early life[edit]

Aikens was born in London, England in 1970, into a family of wine merchants.[1] The Aikens family had a converted barn in the Auvergne region of France[2] where the chef would spend his early summers. The Aikens' family travelled around France where he was exposed to fine regional cuisine.

Professional career[edit]

With a father and grandfather in the wine industry, Tom Aikens discovered French gastronomy and the central importance of food in his life. From a young age, Tom helped his mother in the kitchen with the preparation of cakes, biscuits, jams and home cooked meals with fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden. This enthused Tom’s passion for using seasonal ingredients from the British Isles, provided by Tom’s suppliers.

To develop his cooking skills, Tom enrolled at the Norwich City College Hotel School. ‘I found something I was good at,’ he recalls, ‘and something I loved’. His first job after he left college was at Michelin starred, David Cavalier’s restaurant in Battersea, London.

From there Tom went to work for Pierre Koffman’s La Tante Claire in Chelsea, London, which gained a third Michelin star during his time there. Tom also worked with Philip Britten at the Capital Hotel and as a sous chef at Pied à Terre in Charlotte Street, under Richard Neat. Tom gained further knowledge in Paris, cooking with Jöel Robuchon, and Gerard Boyer at Reims.

Tom returned to the UK as Head Chef of Pied à Terre, where, at 26, he became the youngest British chef ever awarded two Michelin stars. Here he stayed for five years until he was fired for branding the hand of a trainee employee with a hot palate knife.[3]

In 2003, Tom opened his own, eponymous restaurant in Chelsea; Tom Aikens Restaurant. On 12 January 2012, the Chelsea restaurant re-opened following extensive renovations.

Tom’s second restaurant, the brasserie-style Tom’s Kitchen, opened in Chelsea in 2006. In 2008 Aikens opened the ill-fated Tom's Place which closed six months later, creating financial problems for his restaurant group. Aiken sold his remaining two restaurants to TA Holdco Ltd after putting them into administration in late 2008, leaving many suppliers out of pocket,[4] a transaction that the Fair Trading Commission launched an investigation into.[5] In conjunction with Compass Group, Tom also launched Tom’s Terrace, Tom’s Deli and a second Tom’s Kitchen site at Somerset House in September 2009.

Tom has written three books; Cooking (2006), Fish (2008), and Easy (2011), and has collaborated with designer David Linley on a range of kitchenware. This summer Tom collaborated with Qatar Airways and an all star team of culinary ambassadors to create the ‘Qatar airways culinary world menu’ for air passengers.

He supports the Environmental Justice Foundation to raise awareness of illegal ‘pirate’ fishing and diminishing fish stocks.[citation needed] Tom is a charity supporter and participates in events including Stand Up for Cancer Gala with Channel 4. Past races include the Luc Alphand cycle race for the Kipungani Schools Trust.[citation needed]

In June 2013 Tom Aikens opened a 130 seater restaurant in Canary Wharf in the modern British Brasserie-style.[6]

Television career[edit]

Aikens was one of the four Iron Chefs in Iron Chef UK on Channel 4 television. He has appeared on Market Kitchen on UK Good Food Channel as well as on Great British Menu in 2011 and 2013.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Aikens married business partner Laura Vänninen in 1997, but the marriage broke down in 2004, a year after they opened their first Chelsea restaurant Tom Aikens. In June 2007, Aikens married publicist and former chef Amber Nuttall, third daughter of Sir Nicholas Nuttall, Bt.. Aikens and Amber separated in November 2010.[7]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Tom Aikens Cooking (2006) published by Ebury Press
  • Fish (2008) published by Ebury Press
  • Easy (2011) published by Ebury Press

References[edit]

External links[edit]