The Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Faculty of Tourism, Department of Gastronomy and Culinary Arts hosted world famous chef Tom Aikens who is also the owner of the double Michelin starred restaurant collection Tom’s Kitchen. Tom’s Kitchen group chef Richard O’Connell was also hosted by the university. The duo came together with students at the Rauf Raif Denktaş Culture and Congress Center where a workshop and talk took place.
EMU Faculty of Tourism Dean Prof. Dr. Hasan Kılıç stated that the Department of Gastronomy and Culinary Arts is carrying out another first by bringing together young chefs and one of their idols; Tom’s Kitchen owner and chef Tom Aikens.
Prof. Dr. Kılıç indicated that 2 students have started working at Tom’s Kitchen as a result of their hard work and desire to learn during their internship period at the restaurant. Another student has also received a job offer. Prof. Dr. Kılıç noted that he is proud to see the students working at such an important restaurant chain right after their graduation, stating that they are beginning to reap the rewards of their good education. Prof. Dr. Kılıç relayed that during the two days Tom Aikens and Richard O’Connell stayed on the island, they visited historical monuments and touristic destinations, also trying Cypriot cuisine.
Speaking during the workshop, Aikens stated that he helped his mum in the kitchen when he was six years old, expressing his belief that this played an important part in his development as a chef: “After cakes and deserts, I started cooking main courses. I enrolled in catering college at the age of 12. I received an education there for two years. After graduating I worked in some of England’s best restaurants.” Chef Aikens indicated that he worked in David Cavalier’s Michelin starred restaurant in Battersea, London and Pierre Koffman’s restaurant in Chelsea, London. He also worked in La Tante Claire which earned its third Michelin star during the period he was working there. Chef Aikens also stated that he worked under Philip Britten and Richard Neat at Capital Hotel as well as at Pied à Terre on Charlotte Street. Aikens is the youngest Michelin Star Awarded British Chef with two stars at the age of 26. In 2003, he opened a restaurant carrying his name in Chelsea.
During the workshop Richard O’Connell along with Aikens presented the “Salt Cod Brandade” found on Tom’s Kitchen’s menu. During the second part of the presentation, Aikens showed how to cut a whole lamb carcass. Answering student questions Tom Aikens stated “If you want to be successful you must have good ideas. You must be very familiar with your market. Never compromise quality. Service and prices must also be considered. You need to concentrate on what you are doing and make educated guesses based on your instincts about people’s expectations. The restaurant industry isn’t at all easy. Your team and employees are vital, you must train them well. The combination of many elements will carry you to success.”
Visit to EMU Rector Prof. Dr. Necdet Osam
Tom Aikens and Richard O’Connell visited EMU Rector Prof. Dr. Necdet Osam in his office and indicated that they are very happy to be at EMU. Prof. Dr. Osam highlighted that they will continue to support the Faculty of Tourism, inviting chef Tom Aikens and Richard O’Connell to provide education at the university. At the end of the visit, Prof. Dr. Osam presented the duo a board with traditional Cypriot Lefkara lace.