In talks with: Tom Sellers
The hotly anticipated Restaurant Ours by Tom Sellers and Daniel Phippard opened this month. With Head Chef Daniel Phippard, previously of Ernik Moscow and Kensington Place in London, at the helm together with Tom Sellers of Michelin-starred Restaurant Story, this venue is tipped to storm onto the dining scene with a huge following. With a culinary CV that includes time spent working with Tom Aikens, Thomas Keller at Per Se in New York and René Redzepi at Noma in Copenhagen, Sellers is no novice when it comes to knowing how to run a successful restaurant. In the build up to the venue’s opening we spoke with Sellers to learn more about his journey into the hospitality industry and how this opening will mark a new chapter in his career.
How have you been influenced by your mentors over the years and who do you credit as your greatest inspiration? Those who have mentored me are fundamental to the chef I am today. Tom Aikens was really influential in my early career and taught me discipline and the power of imagining through food. I credit my team at Story: their hard work influences me every day.
What are the biggest hurdles you have had to overcome to reach your current position? There have been a lot… Often there are hurdles imposed by others not believing in your plans but thankfully that drives me forwards and makes me want to prove them wrong.
What words of advice would you give to aspiring chefs? Work hard and listen.
The restaurant scene and cookery as a whole has changed in leaps and bounds over the last few years. What do you credit to the quickly changing culinary environment and how do you stay ahead of the curve? I credit a lot of talent in the industry and to diners who really want to find the next best thing. It pushes everyone further. Honestly, I stay ahead of the curve because I never stop thinking about how I can better my businesses.
We know the concept behind your first venture Restaurant Story, to tell a story with food… but what is the driving force behind Restaurant Ours? It’s a place for you to come and relax with your friends or family. It’s a place to be social, enjoy the service, the food and the atmosphere. The room is impressive, but the concept is simple and I hope that diners will feel at home there.
How does the menu differ from Restaurant Story? How has Daniel Phippard’s influence shaped it? The menu is different mainly because it is sharing food, meaning that you build your meal yourself. With Story’s tasting menu, diners are guided by the kitchen and the front of house staff. At Ours, diners can choose the type of experience they would like to have. Daniel is an extremely talented chef, which a menu like Ours’ needs.
“Work hard and listen”
What’s your favourite dish on the new menu; can you give us a sneak peek? There are lots of great dishes on the menu. I love fish and I think the 50/50 Salmon is stunning through its simplicity. I could happily order anything on the menu and hopefully our guests will agree.
And looking forwards, what are your ambitions for the future? You hinted that you may be expanding further this year… can you tell us more? There is always a lot going on! I have a book coming out, and yes, I’m looking at other ventures. I’m very conscious that every move I make has to preserve the integrity of what I have already built.
Restaurant Ours, 264 Brompton Rd, London SW3 2AS
May 19th 2016