Quick Bite with Tom Stephens, Head Chef at 64°

The Woods Foodservice Quick Bite series is a 10-second download from a top UK chef sharing what’s on their plate.

We speak to Tom Stephens, Head Chef at Brighton’s fine dining destination, 64°, on his inspirational grandmother and the beauty in simplicity.

What would you say is the most defining moment of your career to date?

Taking a position at a little place called The Bistro Bishops Waltham. It was my first job working for a chef with a 2 Michelin Star background. It completely changed my perspective on cooking and the use of ingredients. He was just so passionate about everything he did, and I learnt so much.

What inspired you to become a chef?

My grandmother – she had a nursing home, so she pretty much just cooked and baked constantly. She and my grandfather owned a dairy farm too, so my granddad would work on the farm while she was working in the nursing home. Whenever my parents went away I would stay with them and spend my whole time cooking with her.

What piece of golden advice would you give to anyone in the industry if they want to be successful?

Go and work for someone who will really push you and be prepared to work just as hard. Eat out a lot and find a place that really inspires you; then try to get experience working there and stick it out. It’s never going to be easy, so perseverance is essential.

Any favourite ingredients at the moment / or any ingredients/trends you think will be big in 2020?

The best food trends recently haven’t necessarily always been about being new or innovative; a lot of it now is going back to classics and refining. Simplicity is key and the best places to eat these days aren’t over complicating things.

Autumn is my favourite time of the year for produce – game has been making a bit of a resurgence in recent times and I absolutely love cooking with it.