Arrogant? Inspirational? Opinionated? Genius? Whatever your take, there’s no doubt that this chef divides opinion. Here’s a sneak peek inside our stunning October issue where Anthea Gerrie meets the man whose name is on everybody’s lips.
It takes a cheeky young chef to put a childhood memory of bread and dripping at the heart of a smart new London restaurant. But when he took the city by storm with Story in 2013, no-one was cheekier than Tom Sellers. Hardly the typical stuff of fine dining, that beef dripping candle did not stop him winning a Michelin star within five months.
‘Getting the star was a relief, because expectations of me had been so high, but it was also ironic,’ says the baby-faced wunderkind who was world famous by 25, and is still under 30.
‘For years I aspired to stars when I got a place of my own, yet by the time I opened Story, I was much more obsessed with creating a restaurant which expressed my own identity.’
Until he ‘literally fell into food’ aged 16, Tom believed he had no interest in cooking. ‘But I washed dishes in my teens to have money in my pocket, and one thing led to another. It started with peeling potatoes for Dauphinoise when there were no dishes to wash and, all of a sudden, I was a commis chef at The Hammer & Pincers near Nottingham, where I grew up.’
Luckily for Tom, his boss, Damian Clisby, was a well-connected chef who saw latent talent in this young man who’d suddenly developed a fierce interest in food. ‘Everything else – hanging out with my mates, seeing my girlfriend – seemed irrelevant; this was the start of my journey. Within a year I was working with Damian on the stove, but he told me that if I wanted to take it seriously, I needed to go to London and work with the most progressive chef he knew, Tom Aikens.’
To find out more, pick up our October issue of Good Things – hitting the shelves soon!