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Revelations: Tony Fleming, executive chef, L’Oscar, London

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Revelations: Tony Fleming, executive chef, L’Oscar, London

What was your best subject at school?
Pottery, it was my highest GCSE grade

What was your first job?
Sweeping the floor at Woolworths

What was your first job in catering?
Working the dishwasher at the hospital where my dad worked. Thousands of plates an hour, I was bricking it most of the time!

What do you normally have for breakfast?
Flat white, cornflakes and a Pink Lady apple

What do you do to relax?
I love to cook for my family at home – it’s a welcome break from running a hotel and a team of 35 in the kitchen

What’s your favourite hotel?
The NoMad in New York City, more for its F&B offering than rooms. The ground floor has such a buzz

What is your favourite drink?

What is your favourite cuisine?
Indian. Lamb biryani at Dastaan in Epsom please

Which ingredient do you hate the most?
Either watermelon, because it makes me throw up, or edible flowers, because they’re lazy

What flavour combinations do you detest?
I’m not sure who thought putting pineapple on a pizza was a good idea

What do you always carry with you?
Vaseline, a plaster and a picture of the missus

Which person in catering have you most admired?
People who are trying to raise awareness of what and how we eat, like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. And Jamie Oliver, who has a got a lot of households in this country cooking again. I like unselfish people who give something back

Which person gave you the greatest inspiration?
Chris Gorham – he was my first head chef in Cambridge at Restaurant Twenty-Two. Twenty-four years ago he told me to go to London and work for Marco Pierre White. So I did!

Cast away on a desert island, what luxury would you take?
Mrs Fleming, we’d live off her fish finger sandwiches

Describe your ultimate nightmare
Anything involving heights

If you had more time, what would you do?
Learn to fly a plane – I have booked my first lesson!

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