When one thinks of Michelin-stars, they rarely think rock ‘n’ roll, but one young chef wants to add a dash of glitz to your tired dining routines. Meet Tom Aikens and learn how he keeps his kitchens sizzling.
When you were asked to curate the EDITION’s culinary offerings, where did you begin?
I was given a general brief on the EDITION Abu Dhabi. I then created the three concepts. The three outlets are very different. Alba Terrace is inspired by all things Mediterranean.
Oak Room is our informal, yet informed, British rock ‘n’ roll steakhouse. Market at EDITION, our all-day dining outlet, focusses on well-being and healthy eating and is inspired by global cuisine. We made sure that what we were doing was wholly unique in terms of the quality, originality, and value to what else was already available in Abu Dhabi.
The Oak Room is not your grandfather’s steakhouse. How did you infuse glitz and glam into what’s usually considered a stiff and stately occasion?
Oak room is a British rock ‘n’ roll steakhouse, because, well, I’m a young British chef. We offer a wide selection of prime cuts from all over the world to match all tastes and price points, and we showcase our beef in a glass-fronted chiller cabinet. We have a “Schuther,” which is a new role that we created — think fully qualified butcher cum showman. Basically, he does all the beef preparation in the morning and then, when the restaurant opens, he explains the different cuts of beef to diners. He then presents the prepared steaks and carves them tableside. The atmosphere is relaxed and informal, yet informed thanks to our well versed and professional staff.
You are a British chef working with an American brand in the Middle East serving people from likely over 200 nations — globalism on a plate really. What are your thoughts on the mixing and mingling of cuisines?
Expanding abroad is fun because you get to discover new places, produce, tastes, cooking techniques, and meet new chefs which greatly develop my cooking style. I hope that we are setting some trends in all the different offerings throughout the outlets, but let’s wait and see. I am not a follower of trends as they always go out of fashion. I love to change it up and to keep inventing the wheel, so I keep impressing my guests with unexpected and delicious food.
Published on March 2019