The London Look: Tom Booton

by Guest of A Guest · June 6, 2024

    It's really no surprise that Tom Booton became the youngest head chef at one of London's most storied culinary spots. After all, the culinary wunderkind started working professionally in the industry at just fifteen under the watchful knife of executive celebrated chef Ian Rhodes.

    Since then he's put in time with plenty of Michelin-starred establishments, landing him his impressive role helming up The Grill at The Dorchester back in 2019. With its swanky interiors and an exciting, adventurous menu - Lamb Loin, BBQ belly, nduja, white asparagus and red pepper ketchup, anyone? - seats in his dining room are rightfully sought after.

    Curious where you'll find this Londoner out and about, what he actually does all day, or - and this is a very important question for any Brit - what's his go-to pint?

    Where are you from originally?
    Colchester, Essex.

    What brought you to London?
    It was during the London Olympics and London was really buzzing with a new energy. I wanted to work with Alyn Williams on the launch of his restaurant at The Westbury so it made sense to move down to London.

    How long have you been here?
    12 years.

    What neighborhood do you call home?

    What's your job?
    I run The Grill by Tom Booton at The Dorchester.

    What do you actually do all day?
    My days are incredibly varied, on some days I am in the kitchen doing menu curation and food development while other days I am assisting the front of house. We have a lot of events and pop-ups happening externally so that takes a lot of time and effort to plan and execute.

    Social smoker?

    Go-to pint?
    A pint of Fabal. It is run by a good friend, Hannah Rhodes, and is a delicious artisanal lager.

    Crisp of choice?
    I don’t really eat crisps that often but I would have to say Prawn Cocktail.

    Preferred pub?
    The Audley or The Barlow Mow. The Audley is around the corner so it’s a great local to go with the team on a Sunday night after a busy week.

    What's worth the wait?
    Good food.

    Tube or Boris bike?
    Neither, I prefer the bus.

    Tesco or Sainsbury's?

    Weekend getaway trip?
    I try to head back home to Essex or to Suffolk. There are a lot of beautiful and relatively unknown parks in both places that are worth visiting.

    Favorite restaurant?
    I couldn’t narrow it down to just one. It really depends on budget and the cuisine I’m in the mood for. Luckily, London has such a diverse food scene there is always something different and delicious to try.

    Marmite or marmalade?

    British stereotype that rings true?
    The love of a good pint. No matter the weather, you will always find a group of Brits standing outside a pub nursing an ice cold pint.

    How do you take your tea?
    Milk and one (brown) sugar.

    Most British thing about you?
    My sarcastic sense of humour.

    Least British thing about you?
    My adventurous palette.

    Remedy for a rainy day?
    A day on the sofa with a good film is hard to beat.

    First thing you miss when you leave London?
    The people, no one has the same sense of humour that we do.

    Private Members Clubs - yay or nay?
    I haven’t had the chance to experience one yet so I couldn’t say!

    Where in town are you almost always?
    At work.

    Best place for a fun night out?
    I think it’s more about the people you are with but anywhere with good ambience.

    Top shopping spots?
    Battersea Power Station.

    What's your greatest extravagance?
    It would be between food and travel. I’m always buying new kitchen/cooking appliances and great produce but equally I love to travel as often as possible.

    What's your most overused Briticism?

    What are you most excited for next?
    We are cooking at Royal Ascot for the 3rd year this year which is very exciting. We also have some great plans for the development of The Grill by Tom Booton.

    [Photos by Kirk Truman]