What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?
I can remember my dad bringing back the rabbits he had caught. He’d then make them into a stew and we always had family meals together.
What would you say has inspired your cooking the most?
British produce and the changing seasons help to guide my ideas. I also love the romance of cooking and the stories that it tells – for me, cooking isn’t just about putting flavours that work together on a plate.
Describe your culinary style…
Intelligent and ingredient-lead.
What would you say is the main focus for your latest restaurant?
Restaurant Ours is about the environment, as well as the food. It is relaxed, there’s music, the surroundings are spectacular. The food compliments this environment without trying to shout over it.
How did the idea for your latest venture come about?
Restaurant Ours is the work of a lot people – hence the name, really. It came about because we knew that if we worked together, we could make something special happen in the venue (264 Brompton Road) as it is such an iconic site in London.
What do you think has made your menu’s and restaurant concepts sosuccessful?
I think it’s through a careful consideration of how people eat. That and a lot of hard, concentrated work to get my ideas in line and my teams on board. It doesn’t stop with the kitchen either, a well-executed front-of-house is the key to a good restaurant.
What are your most indispensable ingredients?
There’s only one: salt
What kind of experience do you aim to give guests at your restaurants?
One that is memorable for the right reasons! I believe that food reveals a lot about people and is a great equaliser in that respect as everyone has to eat. It’s just how they choose to do it that differs. I want them to come away feeling glad that chose to eat my food.
What would you say has been the most memorable moment in your culinary career so far?
The first Christmas family dinner at Story with the staff. We had been open since April and had come against what felt like everything for a new restaurant. When we sat down to eat Christmas dinner together before the final service of 2013, it was a humbling and reflective moment for me.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out a career in the world of food?
To have resilience. Everyone tells you to keep your head down and work hard but I would tell myself to be resilient. My work isn’t always easy, and people don’t always like what I do so I still tell myself that sometimes.
What’s next for you/Whats projects do you have lined up?
My book is coming out in September called A Kind of Love Story. It took a long time to write, and almost as long again to be made into a book. I’m really proud of it. I am also opening my first overseas restaurant in late October/early November in Hong Kong which will be different again to the restaurants I am currently involved in.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Beans on toast with lots of butter. The ultimate comfort food.
What restaurant is currently at the top of your list to dine at?
El Celler de Can Roca. I think that it high on a lot of people’s list for obvious reasons!
Find out more about Tom Seller’s culinary journey