Member of the month January 2020: Tom Bainbridge

The Staff Canteen

Here at The Staff Canteen, we feature a different member every month who we think deserves to be celebrated - this month’s winner is Tom Bainbridge.

As thanks for being a regular contributor to The Staff Canteen website via the Chef+ app, Tom will receive a copy of Lee Tiernan's Black Axe Mangal cookbook, an Essential Cuisine goodie bag and a mug from The Staff Canteen. 

1.    Current place of work, position – 

Executive chef and co-owner of The Tilbury in Datchworth and White Hart in Old Welwyn with my brother James Bainbridge. The majority of my time is spent at The Tilbury where I head up the kitchen team & hold 2 AA rosettes.  

2.    What is your cooking style and what should people expect from the food on your menu? 

I find it hard to place myself within a strict cooking style. This is partly a result of being a self-taught chef, whilst I understand and appreciate traditional methods and flavour combinations, I tend not to be restricted by them. I enjoy being creative, pretty freestyle and I like my menus to be approachable yet thought provoking and exciting for our guests to try.  

3.    What is your favourite dish to cook and why? 

I don’t have a standout favourite dish to cook as I like to change the menu often, but I love making sauces, for me a good sauce transforms a dish and is what can make it next level.

4.    Name a food item/dish/ingredient that isn’t considered “cheffy” but that you love to eat

McDonald’s double cheeseburger, but not with bacon! It’s a timeless classic that never gets boring - although I’m sure the patties are getting smaller. My brother James has the same affection for the double cheeseburger, we decided very early on to pay homage to it with our own burger.

5.    What do you like about The Staff Canteen app and website?

The Staff Canteen is a great place to share ideas & dishes with likeminded people, the sharing feature of the app also provides great social media exposure, allowing your work to be shared with the wider community – I don’t know a chef that doesn’t follow it! Although I mainly view The Staff Canteen content through Instagram, the updates and goings on of the industry on the website are very useful and informative.

6.    What are your plans for the future? 

To keep improving what we do on a daily basis, pushing our food offering at both sites, with the aim to get bigger and better, year on year. We have a great record of training young chefs, most of my kitchen team is made up of young locals that we have trained and see progress into very talented chefs. We would like to continue to do this and hopefully see them run our kitchens in the future. Finally, last year we started our catering business, Bain & Bridges catering, it has had a positive start and this year we will be looking to develop this side of the business further.  

King prawn, chopped raw beef, tartare puree - recipe here

7.    Finally, have you changed your menu to incorporate more plant-based dishes? What are your thoughts on Veganuary?

Our menu and offering have changed over the years to include more plant-based food. This is partly due to Veganuary but it is also a trend that we have seen grow for a while now. In general, there is an attitude towards consciously eating less meat and to cater for this we like to offer vegan and vegetarian food. If our current offering isn’t vegan, we will always cook personally for our guests. 

 Do you want to be the next Member of the Month? Download the app now for free and start sharing your images, videos and recipes and interacting with other members to be in with a chance of winning!

 >>> The Chef+ app is free to download. 



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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 31st January 2020

Member of the month January 2020: Tom Bainbridge