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He was educated at Kingswood School (1955–1959) and at Balliol College, Oxford where he studied Modern history (1961–1964). He worked as an archivist from 1964 to 1973 and a restaurateur from 1974 to 1984. From 1984 to 1988, he organised the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, and in 1993 he became the proprietor of Prospect Books: a prize-winning publishing company specialising in food and food history. From 1989 to 1994 he was also editor of the annual Good Food Guide.
He is the author of four books and has written for The Times, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Evening Standard and many other newspapers and magazines. He has presented The Food Programme and appeared on it many times, has done interviews for the BBC, BBC TV, and ITV, and a series of programmes about food and cookery in the Balkans for BBC Radio 4.
He was Glenfiddich Restaurant Writer of the year in 1994, Glenfiddich Food Broadcaster of the year in 2000, and that same year he was also the winner of the top award: Glenfiddich Trophy for the best Wine and Food Writer of the year.
- Cooking in the Country by Tom Jaine and James Ravilious (Prospect Books 1986) ISBN 978-0-7011-3134-0
- Cosmic Cuisine by Tom Jaine and Nich Campion (Harper Collins 1988) ISBN 978-0-06-250559-0
- Contributed to Traditional Country House Cooking edited by C. Anne Wilson (Weidenfeld & Nicholson 1993) ISBN 978-0-297-83137-2
- Building a Wood-fired Oven (Prospect Books 1996) ISBN 978-1-903018-80-4
- Making Bread at Home (Weidenfeld & Nicolson Illus. 1998) ISBN 978-0-297-84391-7
- Westcountry Cooking's Guide to Good Food in the West Country, (1999-2000) ISBN 978-1-874448-27-3
- The Good Food Guide from 1989 to 1994.
- Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson (Oxford University Press 1999) ISBN 0-19-211579-0
- The International Food and Wine Society's journals International Gastronomy and Wine and Food 1986-1989.
- Petits Propos Culinaires a journal founded by Alan Davidson in 1979 published by Prospect Books and edited by Tom Jaine since the year 2000.
- "Birthdays", The Guardian, 4 June 2014, p. 39