The Caterer

Revelations: Tom Anglesea, head chef, the Laughing Heart, Haggerston, London

22 May 2020
Revelations: Tom Anglesea, head chef, the Laughing Heart, Haggerston, London

What was your best subject at school?

PE or drama, I loved anything sporty or where I could show off!

What was your first job?

I had a paper round when I was 14, which only paid £6 a week for seven days' work

What was your first job in catering?

I started washing dishes in a local bistro called Chadwicks. I fell in love with the hustle immediately

What do you normally have for breakfast?

Just a coffee and a pastry. I'm a sucker for a pain au chocolat

What do you do to relax?

I love getting up and jogging. East London is so beautiful in parts and I love running alongside the canals, especially on cold, misty mornings

Which is your favourite restaurant?

Black Axe Mangal in London's Highbury never disappoints

What's your favourite hotel?

Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone is insane. They have a telephone next to the bed that says press 1 for "anything"

What is your favourite drink?

I love a good Old Fashioned, providing it has been well made

What is your favourite food/cuisine?

I love Szechuan cuisine. I really crave the spice; just the thought of all that chilli oil and black vinegar makes my mouth water

Which ingredient do you hate the most?

Micro herbs. They just don't bring anything to a dish

What flavour combinations do you detest?

The old beetroot and goats' cheese. It always rings alarm bells when I see it on a menu, though most people love it, including my mum!

What do you always carry with you?

My phone (sadly), a Sharpie and Pawpaw balm for any sores. That stuff is magic!

Which person in catering have you most admired?

Thomas Keller, the godfather of cooking. I had the real honour of working for him when I was training

Which person gave you the greatest inspiration?

Robbie Bell, my first ever head chef, who has continuously supported me throughout my career. He has his own podcast called Cook the Books, on which he interviews people from across the industry

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