Great British Menu 2014 - London and South East Heat

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd May 2014

Meet the Great British Menu 2014 contestants from London and the South East; Adam Simmonds, Adam Byatt and Tom Sellers.

Great British Menu Adam Simmonds
Adam Simmonds

Adam Simmonds

Adam struggled with dyslexia at school and quickly found he was more comfortable working with his hands in food economics. He began as a pot washer before starting an apprenticeship at 18 with La Gavroche, where he soon became commis chef. He then went on to work at The Ritz Hotel, Burts, and Halkin under Stefano Cavallini where he worked his way up to chef de partie.

At 21 he found himself working at many Michelin-starred restaurants such as Les Saveurs, Mayfair, under both Marco Pierre White and Jean-Christophe Novelli separately; L’Escargot with David Hawsworth; Paul Heathcote’s Heathcote’s; and the two starred Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – where he feels he learnt the most. His first Head Chef position came at The Greenway which was awarded three AA rosettes and a 7/10 with Good Food Guide.

>>> Related: Gareth Ward, head chef, Restaurant Gareth Ward at Ynyshir

Ynyshir Hall, Wales gained him his first star, four rosettes and an 8/10 GFG. In 2006 he left for Danesfield House, Marlow where in 2010 The Oak Room was renamed Adam Simmonds, and a second star followed. The restaurant has won Adam great success and he was named one of Good Food Guides top ten chefs to watch this decade. He believes in a complete dining experience saying; "you eat with your eyes first, then the aroma and burst of flavours hit you."  

Great British Menu 2014 Adam byatt
Adam Byatt

Adam Byatt

The Essex born father of two has never wanted to be anything but a chef. His grandfather was a chef in the army and his mother was professionally trained, so Adam continues the legacy beginning as an apprentice through the Academy of Culinary Arts at Claridge’s Hotel, alongside studying his craft in Bournemouth.

>>> Read: 10 minutes with: Adam Byatt, Trinity, Bistro Union and Upstairs

He then moved with the Head Chef of Claridge’s, to The Berkley Hotel, before joining Phil Howard at The Square, and then as Head Chef at Worx, Fulham. Adam and Phil then opened the café concept Jus which they then decided to fold. Thyme, Clapham, was Adam’s first fine dining restaurant and earned countless awards. In 2005 he closed Thyme and in 2006 opened Trinity also in Clapham, with business partner Angus Jones. The restaurant is the winner of Time Out Restaurant of the Year, AA London Restaurant of the Year and four year holder of three AA rosettes, and in the Times Top 100 Restaurants in the UK for the past two years.

His charity work includes Action Against Hunger and support of the Academy of Culinary Arts. He released the book How To Eat In in 2010 and opened Bistro Union, Clapham, in 2012.  

Tom Sellers

Tom never enjoyed school and was expelled when he was only 15. He sees this as the

Great British Menu 2014 Tom Sellers
Tom Sellers

making of him as it pushed him into food. He took a job at a local gastro-pub in Nottingham where the Head Chef would teach him about all the great chefs he could one day emulate if he got serious. Tom did get serious and turned up at Tom Aikens restaurant in London where he stayed for two and a half years.

>>> Read our feature with Tom Sellers here

Today Tom is full of praise for his mentor who set him up with Thomas Keller’s Per Se, in America when he was 18. From there he went to work with Adam Byatt at Trinity, and René Redzepi of Noma. In 2011 he hosted his massively successful pop-up Foreword in London which sold out within the hour.

After Foreword, it’s no wonder the buzz around the opening of Story has been so deafening. Tom’s aim is for everything in the experience of Story to be unique, and to have a narrative that continues through the food.

By Harriet Knight

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd May 2014

Great British Menu 2014 - London and South East Heat