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Secrets of a Chef: How to think like a professional

5 mins with Tom Aikens

Secrets of a Chef: How to think like a professional

1. When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

I knew I wanted to be a chef from a fairly young age. From the age of eight back in Norfolk, my twin brother and I were in the kitchen helping mum with basic home baking, making things like cookies, biscuits and cakes. We would always lick the raw mixture out of the bowl! But we also had a real land-to-plate culture in our household. We grew all our own vegetables, so would help Mum and Dad with the planting, growing and picking. Becoming a chef was a natural evolution from this upbringing.

2. What food trends do you see emerging?

There are always trends but I’m not conscious of following them as they go out of fashion soon enough. Trends are only successful in the short term. I prefer to do my own thing. But if I were to identify some trends at the moment. Well, in London it is all about simplistic food done well such as burger bars and shacks. Peruvian cooking also seems to be flavour of the month. And people are really looking to eat more healthily becoming far more lactose-, dairy- and wheat-conscious. Probably as a result of this, we are seeing a rise in the popularity of vegetarian restaurants too.

4. What are your top tips to eating well and staying healthy?

If you do regular exercise you can pretty much get away with eating what you like within reason and moderation. But you should avoid too much processed and manufactured food. And then there are some foods that cause discomfort to people, but these days there are solutions and alternatives out there like Lactofree which offers the taste and nutritional benefits of dairy without the side effects caused by the presence of lactose. Oh, and don’t eat cream cakes!

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