Service with a smile 21 February 2020 Tom Kemble of the Pass at South Lodge cooks up a pumpkin masterclass and shares why it’s important for chefs to meet their customers
In this week's issue...Service with a smile Tom Kemble of the Pass at South Lodge cooks up a pumpkin masterclass and shares why it’s important for chefs to meet their customers
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Acorn Winner 2006: Robert Thompson

27 April 2006
Acorn Winner 2006: Robert Thompson

Robert Thompson
Age: 23
Position: Head chef, Winteringham Fields, North Lincolnshire

Career to date… Thompson started working in kitchens in 1997 and got his first taste of the restaurant high life in 1999 as an apprentice at L'Ortolan near Reading. He then went to the Falcon Inn in Bedfordshire, and from there to the Chimneys Restaurant in Bawtry, South Yorkshire, to work as pastry chef under his brother, Patrick.

In October 2001, he joined Winteringham Fields as a commis, and in 2002 was promoted to sous chef. Then, in 2003, he became head chef - at the age of just 21. In 2004, he won the Young Chef of the Year title.

Why is he a winner? Apart from the obvious - achieving so much so young under renowned former owner Germain Schwab - Thompson has proved that he can now win accolades in his own right. When Schwab and his wife, Annie, sold Winteringham Fields, Michelin reviewed its rating, but concluded that Thompson was more than worthy of retaining their attention and awarded him a star. Moreover, he has retained the highest accolade for his cooking in the AA guide - five rosettes - and achieved a remarkable nine out of 10 in the Good Food Guide.

But it's not just his talent in the kitchen that earns him his Acorn. Thompson is also a hugely disciplined manager, creating harmony among his 15-man brigade and maintaining his gross profit margins without fail. He has also become an established figure in the local community, supporting small local suppliers through his menu and tutoring students from local colleges.

Finally, new owner Colin McGurran praises Thompson's absolute dedication to the job, spending days off researching new dishes and taking time at the end of every service to meet the diners.

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