Geography plays a hugely important role in the life of any chef, and Tom counts himself very lucky to be based in the culinary hub that is Berkshire. He first learned how important the local area is for chefs as a young boy in awe of his grandmother’s skill in the kitchen. She lived in a small village in Essex and often cooked with locally shot game and freshly foraged produce from the surrounding countryside; she proved to be the perfect mentor when Tom eventually found himself heading up the kitchen at L’Ortolan.
Over the years, he has been fortunate to train with some incredible chefs including Raymond Blanc, Jean-André Charial and, of course, Alan Murchison at L’Ortolan. When Alan left L’Ortolan, he was given the chance to earn his own Michelin star, which he did within a year. That was in January 2015 – since then they’ve brought a welcome sense of freshness, innovation and focused flavour to the menus at L’Ortolan, and we have the region of Berkshire to thank for much of this.
“As Berkshire’s chefs, we consider ourselves lucky to work in a region that’s rich in heritage, and our menus represent the wealth of quality produce we have access to. From seasonal game and foraged wild ingredients, to first-class farmer’s produce and superb chalk stream fish, if it’s produced nearby and of an exceptionally high quality, chances are you’ll find it on a bill of fare in Berkshire.”
“It’s not just a matter of produce either. Our proximity to London means that innovation in the food and drink industry quickly filters out to the Home Counties. As a result, Berkshire’s restaurants can respond to trends and customers’ needs swiftly, delivering dining experiences that can be considered truly world-class.”
In this year’s Berkshire Food & Drink Guide, you’re spoilt for choice with new discoveries to make and exceptional local talent to experience. The team at L’Ortolan look forward to welcoming you very soon; an honour that I’m sure is shared by all of Berkshire’s kitchens.