Tom Clarke took over the helm in the iconic Michelin starred kitchen at L’Ortolan in January 2015. Up until then he had been Acting Head Chef for over a year working closely with Alan Murchison. Tom’s passion for cooking began in his early years whilst he was growing up in Essex. He cooked at home for his family and went on to study catering at Colchester Institute. During his studies Tom had the opportunity to work in the kitchens at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
Tom’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 so he moved back to Essex to the then 2 AA Rosette ‘Le Talbooth’ where he stayed for the next 4 years of his career.
At the age of 22 Tom moved to the world famous ‘Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons’ in Oxfordshire to work alongside 2 Michelin starred Chef, Raymond Blanc OBE. During his 2 years at ‘Le Manoir’ Tom worked on the different sections of the kitchen where he honed his culinary skills and learned precise attention to detail, the art of maximizing flavours and taking complex dishes and simplifying them to focus on the quality of the ingredients.
Tom first arrived at L’Ortolan in 2009 as a Chef de Partie and soon worked his way up the ranks to the position of Sous Chef. Keen to broaden his knowledge of French cuisine he travelled to France to work at the 2 Michelin starred “Le Strato’ hotel in Courchevel and the legendary ‘L’Oustau de Baumanière 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 past year and a half Tom has built a strong reputation for consistency and quality in his cooking. He leads a strong and talented team and the awards and guest reviews are testament to his drive and determination and incredible culinary talent.