Tom Aikens is one of the UK’s most acclaimed and inspirational British chefs. Growing up in Norfolk, with a father working in the wine industry and a childhood spent gardening and cooking with his mother, Tom learnt how to make use of the freshest ingredients, putting food at the centre of his life from a very early age. As a child, Tom and his twin brother Rob would help their mother in the kitchen with the preparation of cakes, biscuits, jams, chutneys and home cooked meals, using fresh vegetables picked from their garden.
Spending most holidays in France, Tom began to develop a flavour for French food which inspired him to develop his cooking skills further. Tom enrolled at the Norwich City College Hotel School, completing an Advanced Catering Diploma in 1989 and then began his career at Michelin-starred Cavalier’s in Battersea, London. He then moved onto The Capital Hotel working under Philip Britten, followed by a chef-de-partie position with Pierre Koffmann at La Tante Claire at a time when the restaurant was awarded with its third Michelin star. Tom later worked for Joel Robuchon in Paris, Gérard Boyer in Reims and Pied-à-Terre to name a few. It was in Pied-à-Terre that Tom became the youngest British chef ever to be awarded two Michelin stars, aged just 26.
In 2000, Tom decided to take some time out of the restaurant kitchen and immerse himself in the world of farming, working alongside Carole Bamford, eventually opening Daylesford Organics for the family. Tom’s aim was to learn more about locally grown organic produce, the importance of traceability and sustainability, whilst also gaining experience in the abattoir, deciding with farmers, the best breeds and cuts for the farm’s shop.