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Chef revelations: Tom Clarke, head chef, L'Ortolan, Reading

01 November 2019 by
Chef revelations: Tom Clarke, head chef, L'Ortolan, Reading

What was your best subject at school?

PE – I was very much into sport when at school

What was your first job in catering?

Kitchen porter at a local restaurant in Colchester

What do you do to relax?

Exercise or take my dog for a long walk

Which is your favourite restaurant?

There's so many, but Midsummer House was an amazing experience

What's your favourite hotel?

Claridge's – an amazing place with a lot of history

What is your favourite drink?

Chilled lager or a gin and tonic

What is your favourite food/cuisine?

I enjoy so many, but at the moment I really like Japanese cuisine

Which ingredient do you hate the most?

Liquorice just doesn't do it for me

Are there any foods/ingredients that you refuse to cook with?

Lobsters or langoustines with their eggs – very frustrating

What flavour combinations do you detest?

Pineapple on a pizza

Which person in catering have you most admired?

Alan Murchison, Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones

Cast away on a desert island, what luxury would you take?

Missus and the kids, a barbecue and some cold ones

What daily newspaper/website do you read?

The Telegraph

If you had not gone into catering, where do you think you would be now?

Possibly a builder like my old man

Describe your ultimate nightmare?

Running out of something mid-service or the electric going down

When and where was your last holiday?

Summer – I went to Berlin to see my other half's family and friends

What irritates you most about the industry?

The mistreatment of staff – we can be strict, but can do without all the shouting

When did you last eat a hamburger?

Last week for staff food – James, my sous chef, makes a cracking burger

What is your favourite prepared product?

Bought-in puff pastry – perfect for making a tarte tatin at the weekend for the kids

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