Thomas Kingston, head chef at m.Brasserie in Guildford

Now at Guildford's Mandolay Hotel, Thomas Kingston is a former Yorkshire Ridings Chef of the Year

Now at Guildford's Mandolay Hotel, Thomas Kingston is a former Yorkshire Ridings Chef of the Year - Credit: NA

As the new head chef of the popular m.Brasserie at Guildford’s Mandolay Hotel, Thomas Kingston, who trained at the same college as Gordon Ramsay, has been hard at work creating his culinary magic. Here we find out what’s on the menu...

On your travels, have you found a food or drink producer in Surrey that you particularly like?

As a relative newcomer to the area, I am still exploring, but I have been amazed at the diversity and quality of the produce. One particular favourite though is Kingfisher Watercress out at Abinger Hammer. Watercress is one of the finest and freshest ingredients and we have it in abundance right on our doorstep.

Is there a farmers’ market that you would always add to your monthly diary?

Guildford Farmers’ Market is a great place to pick up ideas and meet potential new suppliers. I head down there on the first Tuesday of every month and I always return with a new idea or two. I am passionate about baking and it is great to see the bread selection on offer too. There are some really good artisan bakers out there and I admire their skill and creativity with ingredients. I am in the process of planning a new kitchen garden at the hotel as well, and there is a very good herb seller that I will be visiting next time!

How about a farm shop?

Again, I would have to say Kingfisher’s at Abinger but I am really looking forward to getting out and about to the villages in the area once the weather improves and new season produce is available.

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Is there another chef currently working in the area whose cooking you particularly admire?

I haven’t been in the area long enough to visit many other restaurants and setting up the operation at The Mandolay hasn’t left much time for me to get out. I do, however, have my eye on a couple of places locally that have great reputations and by the look of their menus these reputations seem entirely justified.

If you were asked to make a signature Surrey dish, what would yours be?

One of my proudest achievements is my award of Yorkshire Ridings Chef of the Year. I achieved this recognition by making use of the finest available locally sourced produce. Now that I am in Surrey, I am committed to following the same simple approach so my dish for our county would be a seasoned slow-cooked forerib of traditionally reared, rare breed Surrey beef with a handful of washed Abinger watercress, some of my very own twice-cooked, proper, very chunky chips and a freshly grated horseradish cream.

What would you say is the most distinctive aspect of your cooking?

Making the simple look spectacular and the spectacular look simple. There is no substitute for doing things properly. I was taught to work in a clean, methodical manner and to pay attention to the basics. Any chef worth his salt must know how to make a stock from scratch, bake well, respect the ingredients and be prepared to pass on his or her skills.

The Mandolay Hotel, London Road, Guildford GU1 2AE. Tel: 01483 303030 /


Get a taste:

Surrey Life readers can take advantage of The Mandolay’s express lunch offer of two courses for £12.95 per person. Dishes include daily specials and traditional local favourites.

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