Meet Tom: our Head Chef, and the face behind our food.

Tell us a bit about your experience as a chef
I’m from Dunedin in New Zealand and I started in the restaurant business as a KP at the age of 14.

After graduating from school, I enrolled in university to study music. I only lasted a year before realising university wasn’t what I expected it to be and joined culinary school to follow my passion for cooking.

While studying I worked at a fish restaurant in Dunedin and worked my way up through the business before moving to Melbourne, Australia where I worked in a gastro pub for three years. Then I worked in a Middle Eastern restaurant which was not-for-profit and feasting-style rather than mezze and small plates – I met an amazing group of people there, and it was an experienced I really loved.

After that I moved outside of Melbourne to work in the Dandenong Ranges National Park where I worked at the Piggery Café which had its own truffle garden. For the next two years I had my first job as a Sous Chef at St Cloud Vietnamese restaurant.

I moved to Edinburgh in 2018 where I got the job as Chef de Partie at BABA, and over the next 10 months I was promoted from Sous, to Senior Sous and finally to Head Chef. I took a break from this role, when I moved to Leeds, so that my partner could study her masters in Responsible Tourism Management – but now I’m back!

Now for some quickfire questions…

What’s your favourite part about being a chef?
It’s the opportunity to meet interesting people, be creative and to continually learn about the trade.

Why do you love working at BABA?
I get to work with a variety of different spices and flavours alongside the sharing style of service.

What’s your favourite thing to cook?
A full breakfast.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
The fridge – simply looking at what I have available to me.

Where does your passion for cooking come from?
Years of working in the industry and gaining knowledge as I go.

Where was your favourite place to work (before BABA of course!)?
St Cloud, because I got to cook with fresh and interesting flavours and met an amazing, fun group of people.

What countries are on your food and drink bucket list?
Egypt and Istanbul are on my food bucket list – their food culture and history is so full and rich.

What’s your favourite thing to do outside of work?
Watching live music.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I’ve been playing music for most of my life, and studied contemporary rock at university for a year.