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 47–48)
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 family had a converted barn in the Auvergne region of France[2] and travelled around France where he was exposed to fine regional cuisine.

Professional career[edit]

With a father and grandfather in the wine industry, Aikens discovered French gastronomy and the central importance of food in his life. To develop his cooking skills, Aikens enrolled at the Norwich City College Hotel School.

His first job after he left college was at Michelin starred, David Cavalier’s restaurant in Battersea, London. He then worked at Pierre Koffman’s La Tante Claire in Chelsea, London, which gained a third Michelin star during his time there. He also worked with Philip Britten at the Capital Hotel and as a sous chef at Pied à Terre in Charlotte Street, under Richard Neat. In Paris, he worked with Joël Robuchon, and Gerard Boyer at Reims.

Aikens 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 palette knife.[3]

In 2003, Aikens opened his own, eponymous restaurant in Chelsea; "Tom Aikens Restaurant." On 12 January 2012, the Chelsea restaurant re-opened following extensive renovations. In January 2014, it relocated to a more central London location.

Aikens' second restaurant, the brasserie-style "Tom’s Kitchen", opened in Chelsea in 2006. In 2008 Aikens also 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, Aikens also launched "Tom’s Terrace", "Tom’s Deli" and a second "Tom’s Kitchen" site at Somerset House in September 2009. In June 2013 he opened a 130-seater restaurant in Canary Wharf in the modern British Brasserie-style.[6] Aikens has several "Tom's Kitchen" restaurants (four at locations across London, including Cale Street in Chelsea round the corner from his original restaurant, one in Birmingham and one in Istanbul)[7] and three top class restaurants worldwide.[8]

Aikens has written three books; Cooking (2006), Fish (2008), and Easy (2011), and has collaborated with designer David Linley on a range of kitchenware.

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] Aikens also appeared in a few episodes of the programme Great Chefs Of The World.

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, he married publicist and former chef Amber Nuttall, third daughter of Sir Nicholas Nuttall, Bt.. The two separated in November 2010. He has two children with his partner Justine Dobbs-Higginson, a former investment banker.


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


  1. ^ "Tom Aikens". Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  2. ^ Conti, Samantha (October 2007). "Cooking With Gas". W Magazine. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  3. ^ David Cohen (28 January 2009). "I feel a complete s**t leaving my creditors £1m out of pocket". London Evening Standard. 
  4. ^ Neil Tweedie (25 October 2008). "Tom Aikens leaves a sour taste in the mouth". The Telegraph. 
  5. ^ Jeffries, Stuart (9 September 2010). "Tom Aikens – a chef back from the brink". The Guardian. 
  6. ^ "Tom's Kitchen- Cooking on the Wharf". The Handbook. 26 June 2013.  External link in |work= (help)
  7. ^ "Locations – Tom's Kitchen". Retrieved 2017-07-23. 
  8. ^ "Restaurants | Tom Aikens". Retrieved 2017-07-23. 

External links[edit]