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THE GAME-BRITISH & SCOTTISH CHEFS: TOM SELLERS

The Brits have been preparing for some time the after Marco Pierre White cuisine. Not that there is a british style but we can certainly say that the emerging chefs are pro-locavore and that they are sourcing the best products of the island of Albion. In the very cosmopolitan London, the influences of young chefs are many, which give them a unique culinary personality.

Normally, I do not like using words like amazing, wunderkind, or repeat some “clichés” heard many times, but the Nottingham-born Tom Sellers is one of those extremely talented young chef who at 25 years, has already opened his first restaurant. And not a restaurant in the countryside with a few clients per day, a restaurant in London!

Looks like Tom Sellers’s path has been continuous and flawless. He started very young, he worked for Tom Aikens and he makes passes at Per Se (Thomas Keller), Trinity (Adam Byatt) and Noma (René Redzepi). In 2011, he tested its “cuisine” and concept by launching a pop-up restaurant “Forward” and now in 2013, he open the highly anticipated “Restaurant Story”.

I am convinced that his style evolves, to refine, but we can already see in Tom Sellers a cuisine rooted in British “terroir”, highly personal and creative. There is certainly an influence of Noma in “this complexity of simple appearances,” where each dish, each product has a few things to tell.

As Corneille said: “Aux âmes bien nées. la valeur n’attend point le nombre des années”.

A “Story” to follow…

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Q+A WITH TOM SELLERS (www.restaurantstory.co.uk ):

1-(Scoffier) What is the philosophy behind your “cuisine” in general and at “Story” particular?

TSellers– My food is British, seasonal and driven by history. Telling a story through food and the influences that food has had on my life is important to me. I have found myself in food and my own style, which isn’t over-worked or over-influenced by anyone in particular. It is me on a plate.

2-(Scoffier) How do you explain the concept behind your new restaurant “Story”?

TSellers– I always wanted to call my own restaurant Story since I started cooking and that has never changed. Food, eating and ingredients all have a story to tell, and it was on that basis the concept came about

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

TSellersBurnt onions from eating hot dogs at the fairground. That flavour is one of the strongest childhood memories I have of food and eating.

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

TSellers– I use whatever is seasonal and the best of British. We have so many fantastic ingredients at our fingertips in the UK and I’m lucky to be working with some great suppliers. I’ll call up and they’ll tell me about something amazing and I have to find a way to use it. I’m also a big believer in seeing where your produce comes from and taking the team along to see as well. I’ll be doing this with the kitchen team at Story so they too can better understand the food chain and meet our producers

5-(Scoffier) You worked for chef Tom Aikens, at Per Se, at Noma and with chef Adam Byatt (Trinity). What you learned at these restaurants?

TSellers– So much. Firstly, how to cook and what it takes to work in a professional kitchen. Then I learnt how to manage and organise not only myself but others. I learnt how to get the best out of myself and the people around me and how to get the best out of flavours and ingredients. Finally, I learnt how to look at food differently.

6-(Scoffier) Is there any other people who inspired you in the kitchen?

TSellers– The other chefs I have worked with have all given me inspiration. But inspiration also comes from all sorts of unexpected places, not just the places I’ve worked at.

7-(Scoffier) How do you develop (process) your recipes? What are your source(s) of inspiration?

TSellers– I look to the history of food, things that are iconically British; what is amazing that season; and incorporating flavours and ingredients I love, for example gin. The recipes are developed over time and through testing, there isn’t really a short-cut.

8-(Scoffier) I had the chance to interview several talented young English chefs, the restaurant scene looks very dynamic, creative, original. But is it easy to open a restaurant in London now? Your pop-up “Foreword” was a necessary step?

TSellers– It’s not easy to open a restaurant in London at all. There are too many moving parts, it isn’t just down to me, my food and what I think is right. Finding the right site, surrounding yourself with the right people and constantly pushing forward all the time is the only way to keep it moving. Of course there are set backs, but I’m focused on the goal of opening, then the real work starts. The pop up was a necessary step, a shop window if you like for Story. I’ve had a great career and worked in some fantastic places but it’s always been cooking other people’s food. Foreword allowed me to cook my own food and the response was both massively encouraging and humbling.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Tom Sellers?

TSellersRecipe: Bread and dripping: a candle made from beef fat that runs into an old fashioned candle well. Then home-made bread used to dip into the fat and mop it up with.

10-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef (maybe a book…) and for your restaurant?

TSellers– My goal is to have a restaurant that people are proud to work at and proud to come to. That’s it!

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NOTE: For once, there will be no recipe because the restaurant will open in April. In the meantime, here is the menu:

MENU -STORY-

Six course – £45
Bread and dripping
Burnt onion, apple, gin and thyme
Scallops, cucumber, and dill ash
Beef cheek, stout and cauliflower yeast
Hot toddy
Bread and butter pudding

Ten course – £65
Bread and dripping
Burnt onion, apple, gin and thyme
Scallops, cucumber and dill ash
Crab, smoked leek, rapeseed, pear and lovage
Heritage potato, radish butter and barley grass
Lamb bread, sheep yoghurt, wild garlic
Beef cheek, stout, and cauliflower yeast
Hot toddy
3 bears porridge
Bread and butter pudding

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FURTHER INFORMATION

RESTAURANT STORY/Chef-owner Tom Sellers
201 Tooley Street
London SE1 2UE
dine@restaurantstory.co.uk

PRESS

1. Big Hospitality, January 8th, 2013

2. Pop-up/New York (Video by Libby Andrews), April 2012

3. The Telegraph (Review), June 4, 2013

Credits at Ed Tyler for the photographs.

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2013

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