Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Tom Kitchin, The Kitchin

06 December 2012
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Tom Kitchin, The Kitchin

Overall ranking: 91 (ranked 82 in 2011)
Chef ranking: 26 (ranked 27 in 2011)

Tom Kitchin - Snapshot
Tom Kitchin is the chef-proprietor of Michelin-starred restaurant the Kitchin in Leith, Edinburgh and co-owner of the Castle Terrace in the centre of the city. He has written two cookbooks.

Tom Kitchin - Career guide
Kitchin, who is 34 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 - co-owned by 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 and a star in the 2012 Michelin guide to Great Britain and Ireland.

In May 2008, Kitchin joined chefs Mark Hix and John Campbell in signing up to help train chefs for contract caterers BaxterStorey.
He is becoming increasingly well-known on television, having appeared on BBC's Saturday Kitchen, UKTV Food's Market Kitchen, in BBC2's The Great British Menu and the MasterChef Final Chef's table on a several occasions. In June 2012, he also received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Edinburgh Napier University for his contribution to Scottish food culture.

Tom Kitchin - What we think

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," Kitchin told the Observer. "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 his own restaurant in London in 2010.

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. And the accolades kept on 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. In 2011 the restaurant was named Best UK Restaurant by Square Meal and this year was named runner up, Best Restaurant 2012 by Observer Food Monthly Awards 2012 and Best Restaurant in Scotland 2012 (No 8 in the UK) by the National Restaurant Awards 2012.

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.

His TV career is also going from strength to strength, as is his cookbook writing: in 2009 he published his first cookbook, From Nature to Plate, and his second, Kitchin Suppers in August this year.

Tom Kitchin's ranking in the 2011 Caterer and Hotelkeeper >>
Sunday Times Restaurants of the Year 2012 >>

The Castle Terrace is the big winner at Scottish Restaurant Awards >>

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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