'Every single chef in the world will be a little bit jealous of what we have here'

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen spoke to Tomas Lidakevicius, Chef Patron of Borough Market’s critically acclaimed restaurant, Turnips with Tomas Lidakevicius, about his unique take on micro seasonality and sustainability.

Situated under the arches of London’s iconic Borough Market lies Turnips with Tomas Lidakevicius, an intimate fine dining venue which is celebrating the best of British produce in a busy market setting.

Best known for selling some of the UK and Europe’s finest fresh produce to punters for five generations, Charlie Foster’s Turnips recently launched it’s fine dining offering following a chance conversation between Charlie and Tomas, creating a unique supply chain between the restaurant and the market stall.

Explaining how the concept came to be, Tomas revealed: "The lockdown happened, there were no jobs going around, nobody knowing what’s going to happen in the future, and then Charlie called me up and said let’s do the restaurant. It took two or three weeks to build it up from the shipping container, tables, chairs, glasses, plate, food, the team I had who were absolutely amazing, and then we slowly evolved."

Originally from Lithuania, Tomas is an incredibly talented chef, boasting an impressive CV of past positions at Jason Atherton’s City Social, Corrigans, Agnar Sverrison’s Michelin-starred Texture, and Galvin at Windows.

"People straight away fall in love with what we do because of the produce that we have and what we can cook with it," Tomas said.


The relationship between the restaurant and the market stall has helped allow Tomas to work with nothing but the best produce from independent suppliers in the UK, Europe and around the world.

For Tomas, a large majority of the produce and ingredients are either obtained from Turnips, or other independent suppliers operating within Borough Market, ensuring that all dishes are sustainable with micro seasonality being the focus for Tomas and his team.

"Charlie is one of the best friends of mine. He introduces me to some of the most amazing things you can get from around the world. We start in England, we can go to Essex, Kent, further away in Scotland, wherever we can get it," Tomas explained.

Describing how he sources ingredient, Tomas added: "If we can’t get the right quality of what we want, we go outside into Europe or even further if we have to, Charlie sources the stuff out for us to try new things."

It’s through this process that Tomas and his team of four kitchen staff take on a freestyle of flavour through the abundant array of readily available ingredients presented to them through Turnips’ unique supply chain.

"Our cooking is all about the freedom of using what we have right now. It’s not like we’re going to plan the menu in two, three months, or even two, three weeks, it’s all what I’m going to have here on the day. It might be a dish just for today or tonight. Our cooking is freestyle cooking," explained Tomas.

Diners visiting can expect to see Outdoor Tomato, a dish combining some of Turnip’s exquisite tomatoes served with Tiger prawn; Sicilian Pepper, served with spring onion and Iberico pork; and Tulameen Raspberries, served with Drapier Champagne and Balsamic Vinegar.


"Every single chef in the world will be a little bit jealous of what we have here,” boasts Tomas.

Thanks to the help of Charlie and the unique location of his restaurant, Tomas is able to source produce that would otherwise be wasted whilst it's still fresh, before incorporating the ingredients across his menu.

Describing this process in greater detail, Tomas said: "The access to the stuff we can get is absolutely unbelievable. From the most amazing Corsican peach, sitting in a market for a week then it’s gone, and then it starts getting softer, we take that and make a purée. I don’t need to use any other purees to make ice creams for example or anything else."

As a chef, Tomas is aware of the importance of obtaining produce that has been farmed and produced ethically and responsibly, respecting the source as much as the final product.

“We have to respect not just the supplier; I think the chain goes even further to the people who grow it, to the people who look after the land. The actually chain before something comes to the plate is really long from the travel point of view,” he explained.

Understanding the journey and the carbon cost behind some of the ingredients that are on offer at Borough Market, Tomas said: “If it’s being done correctly and then travelled to your table at the right time in a beautiful way, I can’t see there being any harm done to anybody."


For Tomas and the team at Turnips, embracing micro seasonality and being sustainable are beliefs that remain central to their business and vision.

Explaining how chefs can be more sustainable whilst honouring micro seasonality, Tomas said: "Use as much as you can of the local produce or people who can help you to develop and get a better chain to use up particular products."

"If you don’t have the access obviously the price point is a big factor, we are really lucky that we can get produce for a much better price," he added.

Discussing the importance of preserves and fermentations within his cooking, Tomas said: "For any chef or home cook, choose a couple of your best vegetables. Try not to use what’s not in season, don’t have a strawberry in Autumn or Winter, eat it now or preserve it and do anything you can do with it."

He added: "Respect the season, and then the body and mind will work in different ways."

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 14th August 2023

'Every single chef in the world will be a little bit jealous of what we have here'