Today we are chatting to Tom Cenci, chef patron at newly opened Loyal Tavern in Bermondsey. His love of food, his effervescent creativity and his strong background in the hospitality industry, have earned him a place as one of London’s most prominent chefs.

When did you realise you wanted to work in hospitality?  
I started out by doing work experience at school, I wrote to all the local hotels and I was fortunate to be able to do two weeks at Cliveden House Hotel and I’ve never looked back.

Sum up your current work life in one sentence.  
Joyfully hard.

You recently joined The Loyal Tavern. What would be the one dish we should absolutely try out off your menu?
The chicken skin crackling, I have a guilty pleasure for junk food, and this is a play on spicy chicken wings.

Kid goat & pork belly meatball, plum broth. Photo by @lateef.photography

Who has been really influential on your career and why? 
I’ve never stopped learning from the chefs I’ve worked with – no matter the age, skill level they are at, everyone can teach you something.

How do you keep up to date with the latest food trends?
Social media, if you follow the right people you can know everything about this industry.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
Be willing to work hard for your goals and be patient. It’s a long road to the top.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
A spoon. Stir, mix, scoop and taste. Does it all.

What are you most excited about right now in the food scene?
That more independent restaurants are starting to shine, and the branded high street ones are fading.

Photo by @lateef.photography

Are there any openings you are looking forward to? 
Yes, we have Café Murano and Trivet opening in Bermondsey soon which can hopefully attract more people to the area.

Where is the most exciting city for hospitality (aside from London)?  
There are too many to choose from, but Hong Kong is really starting to become a foody haven right now.

Where would you take your out of town guests for a memorable meal?
The Quality Chop House, such solid cooking and always memorable (in a good way).

Your favourite 5 minute recipe?
Peanut butter and cheese toasties, (don’t judge me).

Fill in the blank: If I weren’t a chef I’d be…
Unhappy

What does the future hold for Tom Cenci?
A winning lottery ticket