1 Michelin Star Chefs: Tommy Banks, Chef/Owner, The Black Swan at Oldstead

The Staff Canteen

Tommy Banks is chef/owner at the one Michelin starred, The Black Swan at Oldstead in York.

The Black Swan at Oldstead is a restaurant with rooms created by The Banks family who have lived and farmed around Oldstead for centuries.

The Black Swan at Oldstead

Oldstead, York, North Yorkshire, YO61 4BL

Website: www.blackswanoldstead.co.uk

Tel: 01347868387
Email: [email protected]

Opening hours: Lunch Saturday 12-2pm; Dinner Monday to Sunday 6-9pm

Head chef: Tommy Banks
Restaurant manager: James Banks

Facebook: The Black Swan at Oldstead

Twitter: @BlkSwanOldstead

Instagram: @blackswan_oldstead


When Tommy Banks began cooking at his family's pub and restaurant, his only experience was washing pots and a brief encounter with his school food technology classes – from which he had been banned for being a little bit disruptive.

Fast forward a few years to 2013 and the 24 year old was awarded a Michelin star making him the youngest chef in Britain to be awarded the accolade.


Yet the chef, who has no formal training, was not always so enthusiastic about food, his first love was sport but after a few chefs left Tommy’s family in the lurch, the teenager was brought into the kitchen to help out.

His farming parents, Anne and Tom, bought the rundown pub in 2006 and set about transforming it with eldest son, James, handling front of house and Tommy working in the kitchen.

The then teenager was not even sure that cooking was for him - but a combination of the recession and a serious illness made up his mind.

Although not formally trained, Tommy has learned his craft in some of the country’s finest kitchens - working alongside some of the industry’s more experienced chefs in London’s Michelin starred restaurants and spending a week in Raymond Blanc’s famed Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons restaurant in Oxfordshire.

What the guides say

Michelin Guide

AA Restaurant Guide




The kitchen garden

The whole team are involved in both growing in the garden and foraging in the surrounding countryside. A typical day might include working in the garden, followed by preparation in the kitchen before personally serving the finished dish in the restaurant. Being involved in every aspect, they have an intimate understanding of the food and intense levels of expertise.

Ken Holland was brought in as a consultant helping Tommy and the team to create a terraced kitchen garden and orchard. Ken is very well known for his vegetable growing techniques having supplied to the likes of Sat Bains and Tom’s Kitchen. Under Ken’s guidance they have created growing beds and terraces in the field adjoined with Ken and have already produced a poly tunnel.

Other interests

Tommy has appeared on BBC2’s Great British Menu twice, first appearing on the show in 2016 and again a year later making it through to cook at the banquet both times.

Awards and accolades

The Black Swan, which also has four rosettes from the AA Restaurant Guide, won a Michelin star in 2012 under a different head chef - something Tommy was keen to retain. The following year the chef became the youngest chef in Britain to hold a star when the restaurant retained the accolade.

In October 2017, the Michelin starred restaurant was voted the world’s best rated restaurant by TripAdvisor.



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The Staff Canteen

Editor 19th December 2017

1 Michelin Star Chefs: Tommy Banks, Chef/Owner, The Black Swan at Oldstead