Michelin Star Chef & International Restaurateur
Owner / Director; Cawston Limited
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.
2003-2014: After three years of farm life, Tom was keen to get back into a kitchen again and went on to open his immensely successful eponymous restaurant, Tom Aikens, which won a Michelin star and rising 2 star in 2009.
2015: Nick Jones approached Tom to consult and oversee on Soho Farm House from 2015 to 2017, developing the kitchen spaces, menus for the main barn, deli, shack, cook school, smoke house, charcuterie kitchens and to make sure the operation was running to its maximum potential. He introduced a plethora of homemade produce, including homemade honey from the sites own private beehives, introduced head gardener Anna Greenland who previously worked with Tom at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in their own market garden. The menus featured ingredients that where locally sourced or grown onsite all year round, providing the perfect foundation for the farm to table concept that Tom is passionate about.
2018: Further afield, Tom successfully launched 3 restaurant concepts in the Edition Hotel, Abu Dhabi, a ground-breaking hotel concept brought by Ian Schrager, in collaboration with Marriott International.
Market is an all-day dining concept with a focus on healthy eating, zero waste and farm to table cooking. Oak Room is a traditional English oak panelled restaurant, celebrating world-class beef with British rock ‘n’ roll flair. The “new- age” steak house uses the very best produce and encourages a “free from” formality and pretence but is always thoughtful and precise. Uncomplicated in approach, the menu consistently showcases signature British dishes. Alba Terrace is a coastal, Mediterranean-style concept, presenting light lunches and sharing plates to linger over. Upon arrival to Alba Terrace, guests are greeted by a large brass-clad aperitif bar with bright lime oak wall panelling, sheer curtains and vibrant plants, bringing the outdoors in, taking inspiration from the South of France, Provence and the coastal roads of Italy.
2020: The most recent addition to Tom’s portfolio is Muse, a cosy 25-seater renovated mews house in the heart of Belgravia. Muse provides a unique and intimate dining journey, offering each guest a kitchen table experience from either the kitchen counter or table side. The culmination of many years spent searching for the perfect location, Tom finally found his new home. Muse is set to be the pinnacle of Tom’s career thus far, where the food, interiors and service comes together to provide a magical and memorable atmosphere for all who dine there.
This restaurant is very close to Tom’s heart, drawing on pivotal relationships, experiences and influences which have led him to this point in his life. Tom draws on inspiration from poignant memories of his early childhood and professional path throughout the years, when creating the seasonal, stripped-back tasting menus. Signature dishes spotlight one key ingredient or element per dish, allowing it to tell a story through minimal, yet expertly selected produce.
Muse opened with critical acclaim and rave reviews quoting “a menu of pure genius.”
The first Michelin star was won in January 2021, despite having only being open for just 7 months in 2020 due to various lockdowns. Muse has won multiple awards such as The Hardens London Restaurant Award for “Best Gastronomic Experience” in September 2021, as well as London’s “Best Restaurant Design” at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards in October 2021.
2021: In November Tom launched Tom's in the Langham Hotel, Jakarta. Located on the 62nd floor of the hotel, the European restaurant features Italian mosaic flooring by Sicis, Knoll chairs, leather upholstered benches, old world chandeliers and floor to ceiling windows, showcasing spectacular views of Jakarta’s skyline from the Sudirman Central Business District. The style of cuisine at Tom’s is of British and French influence, prepared simply, using the best seasonal quality produce.
2022: Tom created two health food concepts for the Qatar Olympic Sports Museum, Doha Launching first in March, was the 3-2-1 Café, conveniently located on the third floor of the Museum, with a focus on nutritious food and drink options to fuel visitors’ enjoyment of the galleries. Naua restuarant followed soon after which launched in June, located on the fourth floor of the Museum. Naua, which is the Arabic word for nucleus of the seed, promotes mindful & healthy eating. The menu offers refined dishes made from high-quality ingredients. This premium casual restaurant is set to become Doha’s premier destination for diners who seek the ultimate fusion of healthy and delicious food. The menus at Naua are with health and wellbeing at its heart, where only ethically and health-conscious food is found, sourced both locally and globally from suppliers whose produce is celebrated.
Naua offers fresh, delicious, and mindful dishes, free from fads and the obvious trends. Guests can dine in a place of calm, encapsulated in a unique setting with menus showcasing global cuisine, harmonising the connection between nature, nutritional importance and experiential cooking. The clarity of flavour in the dishes is achieved using modern cooking techniques, fresh produce and creative passionate chefs
Teaming up again with the EDITION hotel group, Tom launched The Jade Room in September at the EDITION Hotel, Toranomon, offering a fusion of contemporary Japanese and Western influenced, seasonally changing dishes prepared using diverse, yet refined cooking techniques.
Tom has an impressive portfolio catering for high-end events, both commercially and privately.
2014: A private event with Grosvenor Estates for their 20th year celebration in Hong Kong for 500 people.
2015: Tom has worked globally with the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) including destinations such as Istanbul, Dubai and Milan. It was in Milan that Tom curated the menu in conjunction with Anton Mosimann, whilst also participating on the judging panel for the pavilion that was designed by Notts-based artist Wolfgang Buttress, a gigantic interpretation of bees and pollination.
2017: A particular highlight was curating and executing a menu to feature at the 150-year celebration of the British Airways launch in Hong Kong, focusing on Great British produce and Chinese cuisine.
2018: Tom supported the ‘GREAT’ festival in Hong Kong, curating menus showcasing Great British produce with an Asian flair. Tom hosted 2 cookery demonstrations for the attending audience and catered for three private events of over 300 people that included the country’s leading businessmen, women, and influencers.