Tom Clarke head chef at L'Ortolan Reading Berkshire, L'Ortolan
Tom's passion for cooking began in his early years while he was growing up in Essex. He cooked at home for the family and went on to study catering at Colchester Institute. During his time there he had the opportunity to work in the kitchens at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
Tom ClarkeTom's first full time post was at '1 Lombard Street' in London which, although he enjoyed, proved to be too much of a commute on top of a long day in the kitchen. He moved back to Essex to the then 2 rosette 'Le Talbooth' where he stayed for 4 years.
At the age of 22 Tom moved to 'Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons' in Oxfordshire with Raymond Blanc. During his 2 years there he worked on the different sections of the kitchen where he honed his skills and learned precise attention to detail, the art of maximising flavours and taking complex dishes and simplifying them to focus on the quality ingredients.
Tom first came to L'Ortolan in 2009 as a Chef de Partie and soon worked his way up to Sous Chef. Keen to broaden his knowledge of French cuisine he travelled to France to work at 2 Michelin starred 'Le Strato' hotel in Courchevel and the legendary 'L'Oustau de Baumaniere' in Provence.
Returning to L'Ortolan in August 2012 Tom proved himself to be an invaluable member of Alan's brigade earning him the position of Acting Head Chef. Over the last year and a half Tom has built a strong reputation for consistency and quality in his cooking. He leads a strong team and the awards and guest reviews are testament to his determination and incredible culinary talent.
Tom has a busy and exciting year ahead, not only with a new role at L'Ortolan, Tom also became a father at the end of last year ... and still finds time to support his favourite team Chelsea FC!
For the latest from the L'Ortolan kitchen follow Tom on Twitter @clarkey_001.
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