Tom is Scotland’s youngest Michelin starred chef proprietor, having achieved a star aged only 29, and has become a well-known face on television, having appeared on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, UKTV Food’s Market Kitchen and in BBC2’s successful series, The Great British Menu. Tom has on many occasions joined some of the UK’s most renowned chefs on the Masterchef Final Chef’s Table panel as a judge.
We are delighted to welcome him to our growing collection of interviews with our favourite Scottish people, thanks Tom!
Where did you grow up in Scotland, and what was your childhood like?
I was born in Edinburgh and moved to the countryside by Loch Leven when I was very young. I wasn’t particularly academic at school but I always loved my sports and later on, the home economics class. My Nana was a really good cook and from a very young age, I knew I wanted to be a chef. My first job was working in the local country pub close to the family home and that’s where I found the love of cooking. I left school at 16 to attend cooking college and then got an apprenticeship at the Gleneagles hotel when I was 17. It was tough but a great springboard before heading to London and France at a very young age.
What do you do for your Christmas main meal?
I really love Christmas and having a Swedish wife and four young children, I would say Christmas is pretty big in the Kitchin household. We love hosting Christmas at the house with close friends and family and I especially enjoy getting the kids involved and watching them enjoying the food as much as I do. We always do a Swedish Christmas celebration on the 24th when we tuck into home-made herring, cured salmon, ham, meatballs and all things Swedish, all washed down with a bit of Swedish ‘snaps’ (aqvavit) and some compulsory singing. I really enjoy that tradition and it always put us in a good sprit for our Christmas Day meal and celebrations. I usually cook a traditional turkey with all the trimmings for Christmas day but I have been known to serve snails, goose or roast beef in the past. The family always seem to prefer a good old turkey though so this year we will stick to that. The trifle as well as a Christmas pudding is always a must on the Christmas table and very popular with everyone.
Out of all our fabulous Scottish food, what is your favourite ingredient?
I think it has to be Cullen skink – the traditional Scottish soup made from smoked haddock, potatoes and leek. It’s the perfect winter warmer and always brings back childhood memories. I now really enjoy serving it at our hotel, The Bonnie Badger in Gullane and its incredibly popular with the guests after a long walk on the beach. It’s simple but very delicious.
Where in Scotland would be your first choice to holiday with your family?
The west coast of Scotland is just incredible. There are so many beautiful places to visit but I have a soft spot for places like Arisaig, Mallaig and Applecross.
What is your favourite season and why?
I really enjoy all the different seasons and my kitchen is dictated by the seasons and the different produce available. At the beginning of the year I always start looking forward to Spring time. The thought of fresh peas and asparagus and produce like wild Scottish salmon, really makes me excited.
Whisky or gin? Or something else?
It has to be whisky. A warm fire and a peaty whisky with a splash of water is a real treat!
Find out more about Tom’s Michelin Star restaurant
and The Kitchin’s sister restaurants