Breakfast with Tom Aikens

The youngest British chef to get two Michelin stars tells EDGAR how he starts his day. 

Robert Chilton May 17, 2017

Unlike most chefs, Tom Aikens is a morning person. The youngest British chef to get two Michelin stars, Aikens worked hard and fast in his youth. Now 47, he’s mellowed and runs marathons. In 2010 he completed the insane Marathon des Sables, a desert race in which competitors run five marathons in six days in 45-degree heat. EDGAR met Tom at his Dubai restaurant, Pots Pans and Boards to ask him about his morning routine.

What time do you wake up?
When I wake up depends on my girls. Josephine is three and Violet is five. Josephine is the naughtiest one so she comes in to the bedroom at about 6am.

Do you exercise in the morning?
I’m a morning person, but I cannot work out in the morning. I have friends who exercise every day at 6am and I think they’re crazy. I prefer going to the gym at about 3pm instead. But one thing I do when I wake up is 30 minutes of stretching. 

What’s for breakfast?
It’s always healthy. To start, I make my own cold pressed vegetable juice. I use whatever veg is in the fridge so usually stuff like celery, kale and ginger.

What’s next on the menu?
The night before I soak oats or chia seeds in nut milk with flaxseed, plus whatever fruit is in the fridge. I’m dairy intolerant and I used to have quite bad eczema on my shoulders but as soon as I gave up dairy it went away.

What about eggs?
I love scrambled eggs. I probably have eggs two or three times a week, mainly with avocado on toast, which I sprinkle with coriander, chili, spring onion, or mixed seeds.

What kind of toast do you like?
I make two big sourdough loaves at the weekend, cut them in half and and freeze them so I can use them when I need it. Sourdough bread freezes very well. I love having a big wedge of it with raspberry jam or honey – my kids are addicted to toast.

Are you a coffee or a tea guy?
I rarely drink either, but I’ll very occasionally have a latte. I tend to drink healthy white tea or fruit tea. At home I make matcha, which has loads of good bacteria and is great for the gut.

How do you make it?
You make a tea base of whatever tea you like with sugar and let it stew for about a minute to dissolve the sugar. I leave it to cool and add it to a pad of mushroom culture. I leave it for three days and it starts feeding off the sugar and fermenting. I strain it, flavour it with fresh ginger, mint or lemongrass and leave it at room temperature for a day. Then it’s ready to be kept in the fridge. My wife hates it – she thinks the mushroom pad growing in the jar looks like an alien.