9/28/2012 04:00:00 AM

A Day in the Life of Restaurateur Tom Aikens

Think your life is busy? Today we spend a day in the life of British chef Tom Aikens at his namesake restaurant in Chelsea.

6.15 AM: Wake up and make a homemade protein shake. It’s a pretty revolting mix of beet juice, oat milk, egg, raw spinach, papaya, whey powder, dried barley grass, coconut oil and blueberries.

6.40 AM: Cycle five minutes from my home in Chelsea to work. Change into chef whites and head to our little garden at Tom’s Kitchen and do some watering, weeding and pick any salad leaves or herbs that I need in the kitchen.


7 AM: Start making bread - I make the doughs up ready to prove before the other chefs get in.

8 AM: Go through the lunch menu with head chef Lee and have a quick catch up with the team. Roll out the bread for the final prove before baking.

9 AM: Catch up on e-mails and confirm meetings for next week while tasting everything made for the lunch menu and a la carte menu.

10 AM: The last batch of bread is ready for baking. This is always the onion and bacon brioche, it’s the first dough made but the last one cooked.

10.30 AM: Suppliers come in all morning and we check the deliveries. The meat arrives last as it comes directly from the farms. Lee and I work together on the meat and fish prep.

11 AM: The freshly baked bread is ready and I taste one of each variety - only a bite of each of course! Afterwards we check the mise-en-place for the lunch menu and eat lunch with the staff. 

11.30 AM: Set up the kitchen for the start of service - clean the floors, wipe down the benches and set up the pass and sections for service. I also taste the appetiser/canapé.

11.45 AM: Quick service briefing to go over any customers that have dietary requirements and make a note of any regulars that may be visiting.

12–2.30 PM: Lunch is served. For the next two hours we concentrate on our customers.

2.30 PM: The kitchen quiets down after the lunch service so we start preparing for the evening. I have a cup of tea with Lee and go over anything that needs to be ready for later and raise anything that needs to be altered for tomorrow’s lunch service.

3 PM: Another chance to catch up on e-mails and update any recipes.

4 PM: I have an hour at the gym which I try never to miss.

5 PM: If I don't have a meeting I head home to see my nine-month-old daughter. I give her a kiss and play with her. If time permits I feed her as well. 

6 PM: Back at the restaurant Lee and I go through the mise-en-place, tasting anything that might be new and have dinner. Set up for dinner, briefing and review the booking as before to check dietary requirements, celebrations etc.

7-10 PM: The first table arrives. I work on the pass, dressing the plates, making sauces and directing service while Lee alternates between dressing with me and helping each section.

10 PM: Dinner service winds down although our pastry chef is still busy sending desserts out. Clean up and catch up on a few e-mails and Tweets. Discuss the evening service with Lee and go through tomorrow’s schedule as well as the ordering and make a few adjustments to the lunch menu if needed.

11 PM: Home. Go straight to see my daughter who is fast asleep and give her a kiss goodnight. Chat with my partner about our day and watch a bit of the news.

12-12.30 AM: Lights out!

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