Tom Gore, Executive Chef, The Brewery

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th November 2014
Tom Gore prep Tom Gore’s love of food started at a young age when he would cook for himself while his parents were at work. His first job in the industry was at the Lanesborough Hotel on Hyde Park Corner and from there he moved to work for the Roux brothers at Restaurant 24. At 18, Tom got the opportunity to move to America to work for Disney in a restaurant called California Grill. It specialised in Californian cuisine which is a mix of South American and Asian styles. He was there for just under eighteen months before returning to the UK and starting at Zuma in Knightsbridge. Tom then moved on to working on cruise ships around the Caribbean before going to Sydney where he worked at Quay restaurant under Peter Gilmore. The 32-year-old from Essex, is now executive chef for event and fine dining venue The Brewery in London. Tom’s passion for food and the drive to be one of the world’s leading venues for event catering is shared by every single member of The Brewery kitchen team and is reflected by the eclectic menus. They are heavily influenced by the global culinary experiences gained from working on events and at leading restaurants around the world. The Staff Canteen spoke to Tom about sourcing ingredients, seasonal cooking and serving celebrities.
Off the menu: Autumn / Winter menu PDF attached http://www.thebrewery.co.uk/Food-and-drink-menus# Favourite ingredients:
  • Lamb - Rib of lamb slow cooked, brined then slow cooked and finished in the oven with a sticky jus, served with a nice pink piece of noisette or rump.
  • Pork - slow cooked belly and then triple fried
  • Lemon grass
  • Cauliflower - I actually love barbeque or panfrying my cauliflower
  • Black garlic - we literally warm it up (in the microwave) then take it out of the skin and add to brown chicken stock just enough to blitz and pass, then use as a puree, great with venison or lamb.
Signature dishes:
  • Scallop ceviche and yuzu
  • 3 way pig with peach and sweet potato pureee, baby carrots and rhubarb
  • Pan roasted bass, gooey bubble and squeak cake, caramelised shallot and red wine reduction
  • Turkish delight cheese cake with lemon sorbet
Tell us about yourself and your career. My parents are in the fruit and veg industry and my uncle’s a butcher so I’ve always been around food. I’ve always known what I wanted to do really and I’ve always had a plan. Where I am today is exactly where I wanted to be. I love the party scene and the challenge of cooking for large numbers of people. The fact that no day is the same, there’s constantly different things going on. Do you have a cooking style or a philosophy? It’s about being authentic to what we do. We make everything in house, there’s nothing we buy in. If you’re in a restaurant, you can create a dish, serve it and work out the cost, that’s it. When you’re cooking for 600 people, you have to create a dish that will work for those 600 and please everybody. That’s what we do, we look at ways that we can challenge our guests but at the same time not scare them with our food. Is it more of a challenge to create a perfect dish every time as you are producing so many? It’s a little bit different but I know that when we do our taste experience we’re hitting Michelin level. We’ve got a team of around 35 chefs in this kitchen now and they’re all at different levels. There’s all different types of people out there who love food and I’m not going to be one of those chefs who employs people based on reputation. My priority is to create a happy, fun, kitchen. When you’ve got that, people work hard, they give you more because you pay them the respect that they deserve. They also learn more and become better chefs because they have the confidence to grow. That’s my philosophy here and it works. How do you go about writing your menus? I’m constantly thinking of new ideas and combinations for dishes. When it comes to writing the menus I prefer to sit somewhere quiet to focus. There’s so much more to think about than just a plate of food, there’s the logistics of it. A lot more planning has to go into menus in an events business than it would in a restaurant. I write the menus and then pass them on to head chef Steven Connell, who’s worked with me for the last seven years. He’s unbelievably talented and knows how I like things done. Where do you source your ingredients from? We have some really good suppliers. We’ve currently got two of every supplier and I’ll often go out looking for new ones. We use Watts Farm for our fruit and vegetables and they source the top quality produce for us. Turner & George are the butchers we use and they’re fantastic. Jacobs Ladder lasagne Do you have a particular ingredient or flavour that you like to work with? My favourite ingredients are lamb, pork, asparagus, egg, cabbage and greens. I love greens, all the different types but particularly Savoy’s. My parents are in the fruit and veg industry and that’s reflected in my food style, I love fruit and vegetables. I try to get as many vegetables as I can in the main course dish. I love how many different types of vegetables there are and all the different ways of cooking them, it gives you a lot of options when creating a dish. Do you cook to seasons? Yes we do. When we write our menus, they’re worded in such a way that I can adapt them to go with seasonal variations. With events, people have to book months in advance so it’s really important to prepare menus with a bit of flexibility. Do you have a favourite season? Winter Duck four waysDefinitely Spring. I love all the seasons because of all the different fruit and vegetables that come through but, for me, my favourite has to be Spring. Asparagus, peas, rhubarb are all coming through at that time. Do you think there’s any ingredient that’s overused in the industry? Balsamic Vinegar is used just a little bit too much. Is there a new ingredient you’ve started to use in your cooking? We’ve started using tapioca pearls in red wine gravy. You can flavour them to whatever flavour want. We’ve done a lamb dish and a red wine gravy with tapioca pearls. Bringing elements of other styles can be a bit of wow factor with events. I’ve loved using black garlic recently too. How different is catering for such large numbers of people to restaurant work? When you’re in a restaurant there’s a very specific style to follow at all times. In events, you have to be adaptable. The scope can range from doing an Indian themed wedding for David Cameron’s sister to the American style wanted by the MTV Awards. We try to create authentic dishes to suit our events and it’s crucial we’re adaptable. Thai beef salad There are so many ways of taking shortcuts now in serving a particular style of cuisine but we always try to look at the history. For instance, we created a noodle station for an event not long ago so we went away and made our own noodles. Traditionally, you use your bare feet and stamp on the noodles to knock all of the air out so there Steven (Connell) and I were, doing exactly the same thing. Have you been star-struck by any of the people you’ve put on events for? I’ve cooked for Jay Z and Beyonce a couple of years ago and the Kardashian’s too, that was quite funny. I’ve been really lucky though, I’ve had to show John Travolta around the kitchen in Florida and I was only 19. You actually find that names are just names in the end, you meet that many people that you get used to it. Having said that, if there’s one thing I’d like to do it’s an Oscar’s party. I’ve cooked for Prime Ministers, the monarchy and countless celebrities. I’ve never done anything like an Oscar’s party so that would be a bit special. At Zuma, Jean-Claude Van Damme booked a private area out four nights in a row and he walked in every time with two different girls. Stephen Gately used to come to Zuma every Tuesday and he Tom Gore prep - Brewery 2 LRused to sit there with his mates singing. When it’s 11pm and you’ve worked a long-hard shift, that’s the last thing you want. One time I lost my rag, slammed my board on the table and stared at him with an expression that said ‘shut up’. I nearly got in very big trouble for that one! On another occasion at Zuma, I was cooking on the grill when a piece of fat got so hot in the pan that it jumped out. It landed on this lady’s dress and it turned out the dress cost £2,000, it was horrible! Do you have a signature dish? One of my favourites is a pig dish. It’s a belly and tenderloin of pork with potato and peach purée, greens, rhubarb gels and crackling. Another one is on the menu now: it’s ossobucu ravioli with smoked tomatoes, caramelised pear and chicken reduction.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th November 2014

Tom Gore, Executive Chef, The Brewery