Great British Menu 2017 chefs - Tom Kemble, London/South East

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd May 2017

Meet the Great British Menu 2017 chefs from London/South East: Tom Kemble 

This year Tom Kemble takes on  Selin Kiazim and Mike Reid in a bid to make it through to the Great British Menu 2017 banquet which celebrates 140 years of Wimbledon. This year’s brief is to create dishes that capture ‘a taste of summer’ paying tribute to the history and prestige of the Wimbledon Championships. 

Tom Kemble started his career at Chapter Two (now known as Chapters) and has worked in numerous Michelin kitchens including Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park (now Dinner by Heston Blumenthal), Faviken and Hedone. Tom also worked with Gerwin Brand at Richard Branson’s private lodge in Switzerland.

Tom Kemble, Bonhams
Tom Kemble 

In his first head chef role at Bonhams Restaurant, Tom and the team achieved a Michelin star within just ten months of opening.

Why did you want to get involved in Great British Menu?

I thought it would be an effective way to showcase my cooking to a larger audience. I also have never cooked competitively before and wanted to experience that.

How tough is it to come up with dishes which fit the brief?

It is difficult, especially as the brief fell into two parts celebrating 'The Taste of Summer' and '140 Years of Wimbledon'.  Trying to develop your dishes whilst running a busy kitchen is hard. I really wanted my dishes to fit the brief, whilst staying true to my cooking style.

Did you feel under pressure to create theatrical dishes rather than well-cooked dishes served simply on a plate?

No, I didn’t. In fact, I was determined to leave the theatrics behind. I remember the first few series of GBM and the competing chefs let their dishes speak for themselves. It is not something that is part of my cooking so I felt no need to bring it to the competition.

Did you enjoy being pushed out of your comfort zone, and how difficult is it to cook in the GBM kitchen alongside other chefs?

It is a definitely a demanding competition and I don’t think any chef who competes for their first time realises how intense it can be. I enjoyed being pushed and it was exciting to be cooking against Selin and Mike who had such different styles.

Tom Kemble - Great British Menu 2017

Tom Kemble

Great British Menu 2017

What were the best and worst parts of being on Great British Menu? 

Best part- Competing against Mike and Selin and seeing how we all interpreted the brief so differently.

Worst part – the heat was intense!

Would you do it again?

I guess it would depend on what the brief was.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd May 2017

Great British Menu 2017 chefs - Tom Kemble, London/South East