Tom Adams, Pitt Cue Co, London

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th July 2012

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Tom Adams, head chef at Pitt Cue Co in London, has had an interest in barbecuing pork since the age of 16 when he used to make fire pits with his brother, barbecue pigs and smoking bacon. Inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, famous for the River Cottage, a supporter of the organic movement and a well-known campaigner on issues related to food production and the environment, such as fisheries management and animal welfare. Together with business partner Jamie Berger, the chef and barbecue expert took the Pitt Cue Co from dishing up ribs from the back of a van, to what can be considered one of the best restaurants in Soho. The Pitt Cue menu consists primarily of pork with US-style ribs and pulled pork. Dishes include pulled pork shoulder, smoked Mangalitza loin chop, bone marrow mash and house sausage bun with pickles. Tom partnered with farmer Charlie Hart they personally raise the rare Mangalitza pigs, liking the control over the ingredients, from the field to the plate. He believes that due the skill required for cooking over fire the chefs are paying more respect to the pig. Images with kind permission from Paul Winch Furness Tom, thanks for meeting with us today, how long have you been in your current role here at Pitt Cue? One year, since the business started I guess. But the restaurant opened in January . What are the goals for you and the business? For the moment, attaining consistency whilst constantly pushing to improve things in the restaurant here at Pitt Cue. The trailer is also important to us. It is where we started, and it such a great place to work in the summer. Also a nice place to eat we hope. We hope to push on finding a second site some point soon. The current kitchen is just so small and limiting. Personally, as long as the business continues to move forward and the staff are enjoying themselves, im happy. Tom how would you describe your food style? There is no fuss. We started by cooking the food we enjoy eating and that will not change. The kitchen has a charcoal grill and two smokers and the menu is based around this. The backbone to the restaurant is the sourcing of the meat and keeping the meat at the forefront. All our meat is rare breed and free range from small farms. I visit the farms in Cornwall where the majority of our pork and beef comes from every month and have a great relationship with our supplier. It is the thing that really excites me and I learn so much every time I go down there. What has been your biggest learning curve since you took over Pitt Cue? I am only 23 so I am learning the whole time. I have definitely learnt that having happy and dedicated staff is absolutely vital to having a successful business. We had a great team in the trailer last summer and now have a great team in the restaurant; I wake up and cannot wait to get into work. Tom, what’s has been your greatest success to date Having a busy restaurant is something I always thought would take years and years, but we have one now. I still find it a bit surreal. Along with that, banging out cracking desserts with no pastry section, a ropey little oven, and no hobs is somewhat of a success! What’s the biggest frustration about being the Head Chef? Sorting GP’s is always a tough one. Who’s been the biggest influence on your career to date? Jeremy Lee for sure. Taught me to respect everything you cook, buy the best you can afford and to keep it simple. And Richard Turner, my business partner. I love hearing him talk about food. He is a food bible, loves the food that I love, and I lean on him pretty heavily for advice. How important is having a good team to you and the business? Absolutely vital. Without our current team, we wouldn’t be where we are now. And finally, Tom, where do you see yourself in 5-years A strong receding hairline and a big gut. Still cooking the food we do now, only better. I have just bought a couple of middlewhite pigs to keep in the woods at home in Winchester. We have kept pigs on and off for a while just for ourselves. In 5 years I would love to be supplying one of the restaurants myself. A lot of work, but that would be amazing. Want to be in charge of a kitchen like at Pitt Cue Co? Then take a peak at our job vacancies. 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th July 2012

Tom Adams, Pitt Cue Co, London

IN ASSOCIATION WITH