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Q & A with Chef Aikens

30th March 2018

1 - How long have you been cooking and what made you decide to be a chef?

 

I have been cooking ever since I was a kid. My mother was a brilliant cook, and couldn’t keep me and my twin brother out of the kitchen. From the age of 12 she helped me to realise this was exactly what I wanted to do with my life.

 

2 - Can you talk us through your style of cooking?

 

I would describe my cooking style as passionate and limitless. I am endlessly inspired to create new dishes and push the boundaries of what I have done before. Ingredients, people and memories can all spark this creativity, meaning my cooking style can be quite eclectic, but it always comes back to ingredients, with locality, sustainability and seasonality running throughout my dishes.

 

3 - Which chef has influenced you most during your career?

 

I would have to say Pierre Koffmann. My second ever job in a professional kitchen was working for Pierre at La Tante Claire – he is an exceptional man, a huge inspiration, and I loved working for him.

 

4 - What are your favourite garnishes to use when plating up?

 

It totally depends on the dish and the season, but I do love working with edible flowers. We celebrate Chelsea Flower Show at Tom’s Kitchen every May, with a range of beautiful dishes that incorporate flowers, such as marinated salmon with nasturtiums

 

5 - What is your favourite product to work with?

 

That’s such a hard question to answer. I eat everything, and find great inspiration in the incredible variety seen across my restaurants, and when cooking at home. That said, I do always welcome the start of British game season, as it allows you to work with amazing British products, made all the more special by the fact that they are not available all year around.

 

6 - What does the future hold for you as a chef, what is your ambition?

 

I am always striving to nurture and develop my existing restaurants – Tom’s Kitchen in London, Birmingham and Istanbul, The Pawn in Hong Kong, and Pots, Pans & Boards in Dubai. I am also working on a great project in Abu Dhabi right now. Following this, I want to re-focus back on a new project in London...