Caterer and 100: Tom Kitchin, The Kitchin

01 July 2011
Caterer and 100: Tom Kitchin, The Kitchin

Overall ranking: 82 (ranked 99 in 2010)

Chef ranking: 27 (ranked 32 in 2010)

Tom Kitchin - Snapshot

Tom Kitchin is the chef-proprietor of Michelin-starred restaurant the Kitchin, in Leith, Edinburgh.

Tom Kitchin - Career guide

Kitchin, who is 33 this year, started his career as a trainee at his local pub, before moving on to the world-famous Gleneagles hotel, near where he grew up in Kinross. From there he went on to work for some of Europe's biggest names in restaurants, including Pierre Koffmann at his three-Michelin-starred restaurant La Tante Claire in London, Guy Savoy at his three-starred Paris restaurant and at Alain Ducasse's iconic Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo.

He opened the Kitchin in June 2006 with his wife, Michaela, and picked up a Michelin star just seven months later, becoming only the third chef to win the accolade in Edinburgh. Castle Terrace Restaurant - the sister restaurant of the Kitchin - opened in July 2010 with chef-patron Dominic Jack at the helm. The restaurant was awarded a Michelin "rising star" just six months after opening.

In May 2008 Kitchin joined chefs Mark Hix and John Campbell in signing up to help train chefs for contract caterers BaxterStorey.

Tom Kitchin - What we think

Scotland has a potential superstar in the young, gifted Tom Kitchin and someone capable of emulating the likes of Andrew Fairlie by putting Scottish cooking on the international stage.

Despite moving around Europe during his formative years, it was the five years spent at Pierre Koffmann's La Tante Claire that had the most influence: "When I first came to Tante Claire, I was 18 years old," said Kitchin, speaking to the Observer last year. "Jesus. I was so out of my depth it was really not funny. For the first year or so, I got a good arse-kicking. But then, slowly, slowly, he started to give me a little bit of recognition: a squeeze of the shoulder, a pinch of the thigh. I got stronger and stronger. Something clicked. I began to understand the philosophy of the man; I began to understand how much of an honour it was to work for him. Now, we speak every week. He's like a father to me." Koffmann even worked a few stints behind the stove at the Kitchin before launching is own restaurant in London last year.

With so much experience in some of Europe's best kitchens, it was no surprise that Kitchin picked up a Michelin star so soon after opening his first site, aged just 29. And the accolades have kept coming, including Scottish Chef of the Year title in 2007, Restaurant of the Year (Scotland) in 2008, the same year he picked up a Catey for Best Newcomer, and Best UK Restaurant at the Observer Food Monthly Awards in October 2010. More recently, the restaurant was named Best UK Restaurant 2011 by Square Meal.

Kitchin's simple, robust flavours, respect for nature and technically proficient cooking echoes that of his mentor, Koffmann. Also famous for his desire to showcase the quality of his homeland's ingredients, Kitchin specialises in a modern cuisine that is the perfect model for aspiring Scottish chefs.

He has become well-known on TV, having appeared on BBC's Saturday Kitchen, UKTV Food's Market Kitchen and the BBC2 series Great British Menu. He has also joined some of the UK's most renowned chefs on the Masterchef final's chefs table panel as a judge. In 2009 he published his first cookbook, From Nature to Plate, which has just been launched in paperback.

Tom Kitchin's ranking in the 2010 >>

Tom Kitchin named Scottish Chef of the Year >>

Tom Kitchin masterclass: grouse >>

Mark Hix and Tom Kitchin signs up to help train BaxterStorey >>

Just Opened: Castle Terrace, Edinburgh >>

The Kitchin website >>

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