Everything you need to know about Barrow born Great British Menu star Tom Barnes, executive head chef at L’Enclume and Rogan & Co in Cartmel

Tom Barnes

Tom Barnes - Credit: n/a

Tom Barnes, executive chef of Michelin star restaurants L’Enclume and Rogan & Co in Cartmel, who is about to appear on the Great British Christmas Menu festive banquet, reveals his food loves

Tom Barnes is executive chef of Simon Rogan’s Michelin star restaurants L’Enclume and Rogan & Co in Cartmel. Here he reveals his food loves

First dish you learned to cook?

A chocolate cake with my grandma

Most vivid childhood food memory?

On a trip to London, we would always visit a restaurant called La Porchetta. It was the first time I had eaten handmade pizza cooked in a wood fire oven and they were amazing!

Most memorable meal out?

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Restaurant Benu in San Fransisco. I was lucky enough to join the Roux scholars on a trip to California and the meal I had there was completely outstanding!

Favourite ingredient?

It’s tough to choose just one but I always get excited when the first of the season’s asparagus comes through.

Describe your cooking style in three words

Simple, tasty, seasonal

If not a chef, what would you be?

I’d like to train Brazilian jiu-jitsu full time

Tell us about the menus at L’Enclume, Rogan and Co and Henrock

L’Enclume is a tasting menu restaurant, the menus are designed around the amazing fresh produce that is available to us from Our Farm in the Cartmel Valley and from across the British Isles. Rogan & Co is a more casual a la carte restaurant, but still following the same principles as L’Enclume. Henrock’s menu is based on flavours and influences from around the world, there is also a casual bar menu offering simple, tasty comfort food.

Your dream dinner guest?

Conor McGregor

What’s your guilty food pleasure?

Salt and pepper chicken wings

Who are your local food heroes?

The work that the guys do at Lake District Farmers is amazing and their produce is used by many of the top restaurants nationwide.

A chef who inspires?

The late, great Michel Roux Snr. He achieved everything imaginable and gave so much back to young chefs.

A place you love to eat?

Shackfuyu in Soho is incredible. I always get excited when I go to London and get the chance to visit.

A dish for 2021?

We completely missed our amazing spring produce this year due to lockdown, so I’m excited to get back to using things like peas. Simon’s dish that features on the L’Enclume menu of fresh peas in a beef broth with elderflower is always a winner.

How was your recent Great British Menu experience?

I absolutely loved it. It was great to be able to compete against such amazing chefs, especially for such an incredible cause.

What was it like being back in the GBM kitchen?

I was very nervous, but also quite honoured to be asked back to compete against a group of previous winners

What was the standout moment for you in the series?

Winning the fish course and getting it through to the banquet was a huge personal achievement for me and a real standout moment.

What did you enjoy about it most and what was the most challenging?

The thing I enjoyed the most was getting to cook with Niall and Alex again. I became good friends with them both and it was a lot of fun cooking with them again. The most challenging thing was competing against them as they are both incredible chefs.

Your hope/wish for 2021?

Hopefully, things can get back to normal and all those affected by the pandemic can get back to doing what they do best with no interruptions.