Acorns 2018: Tom De Keyser, head chef, The Coach, Marlow

01 June 2018 by
Acorns 2018: Tom De Keyser, head chef, The Coach, Marlow

Head chef, the Coach, Marlow

Nominator Nicholas Beardshaw, executive chef, the Hand & Flowers

Proudest moment "Being part of the team that won a Michelin star at the Coach this year."

Biggest inspiration "Nicholas Beardshaw, who hired me at the Hand & Flowers, Marlow, and then at the Coach. I have learned everything from him and his drive to refine and make everything better every day has shaped me. But also my mum, Pam, because of the amount of the love she put into our family meals."

Ambition "Looking ahead, I'd love to have my own pub where I come from in Essex. There are some sensational boozers around that just need a bit of a polish and refinement."

This year, the Coach pub in Marlow was awarded a Michelin star. This means that at 28, Tom De Keyser is one of the youngest head chefs of a Michelin-starred restaurant in the UK. His progression within acclaimed celebrity chef Tom Kerridge's kitchens from demi chef de partie at the two-star Hand & Flowers pub to head chef at Kerridge's second pub, the Coach, in just five years has also made him a role model for aspiring chefs not much younger than himself.

His responsibilities, however, would daunt many older than him. As well as having control of the running of the kitchen, including menu writing and development, food costs, HACCP implementation and recruitment, he also oversees the smooth running of the business as a whole, including managing front of house staff and ensuring all profit margins are met.

Keen to promote British cuisine and the Tom Kerridge brand, De Keyser has also cooked at 10 Downing Street for David Cameron's Food is Great promotion and has been involved in running pop-up events inNew York (#bringingbritaincloser).

What particularly impressed the judges was his commitment to contribute at industry events that promote hospitality to young people. His work ethic and perseverance has earned him the respect of his managers as has his impeccable management of people.

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