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Chefs Get Personal

20 Jul 2021

an interview with Tony Parkin

Chef Name: Tony Parkin

Age: 37

Title: Executive Chef

Awards: One Michelin Star, Three AA Rosettes

How old were you when you started cooking professionally? 

16

What’s your earliest and fondest first memory of food? 

Not my earliest, but my fondest is my nan’s cauliflower cheese which without doubt is one of my most favourite things to this day.

Which chefs inspire you most and why? 

This is quite a difficult one… I adore Yannick Alleno because I adore the French classics and techniques that he demonstrates and what he has done for Parisian haute cuisine. Andy Ricker and David Thompson as they are two of the finest Thai chefs and have brought northern Thai cuisine to the masses and both achieved Michelin stars in their own rights.

What are your two favourite cookbooks and why? 

Thai Food by David Thompson – it has an absolutely amazing background on Thai cuisine and gives a great foundation for building dishes.

Tony Parkin @ The Tudor Room cookbook, due to be released in September / October 2021 – my life’s work in a book!

Which two ingredients could you not live without?

Salt and lime juice.

What is your favourite comfort food to cook at home?

Buttermilk fried chicken and slaw… it just stinks the house out!

If you could eat at any Michelin star restaurant in the world today, where would it be and why? 

Pavillon Ledoyen in Alléno Paris – because I love Yannick Alléno!

And who would you take as your guest?

The Mrs!

What do you look for in a good chef?

Good attitude, passionate and not a bloody sulky pants!

What advice would you give to chefs starting their career paths now? 

Look at doing long hours as a positive; the more time you spend on the job, the more you will learn. Spend time in one restaurant for a couple of years and learn your craft. Don’t rush at becoming a head chef – the world is your oyster.

How has the pandemic affected your restaurant? And how did you adapt and evolve throughout?

The only way the pandemic affected the restaurant was not being able to open. When we did open between lockdowns we were subject to restricted opening hours and curfews which meant a real change to our dining hours and having to make customers’ experiences shorter. We adapted the menus to suit and continued to try and meet everyone’s expectations.

Can you share any wisdom from the experience so far with others? Have you changed? Has your cooking changed?

I’ve decided to cook one menu with the best of the best and sticking to what I believe in.

Stay true to yourself; you are never going to please everyone, so believe in your palate and your offering!

Chef Tony Parkin is Chef/Patron of Restaurant Tony Parkin @ The Tudor Room

Website: www.alexanderhotels.co.uk/great-fosters

Address: Great Fosters, Stroude Road, Egham, Surrey

Telephone: +44 (0)1784 433822

Instagram: @cheftonyparkin & @greatfosters

Twitter: @tonyparkinASR

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