Grandad’s sweet jar and a photo of a chef showdown are treasured by Tom Aikens
We didn’t do anything to this place when we arrived five years ago. We were moving house, having our first child, and I was reopening a restaurant after a big refurbishment – it’s possibly the worst three things you could be doing at the same time in the space of two weeks. The kitchen was a little bit smaller than we’d have liked, but it works. My wife, Justine, is meticulously organised, making sure everything is tidy. And I am too.
The top cabinets are devoted to dry goods and staples. I do a lot of baking with the kids, so there’s one cupboard full of flavoured sugars, sprinkles and cocoa powder. Another is full of all kinds of flour – high-protein white, all-grain, rye, spelt – for breadmaking. On top of the cabinets, above my head, I’ve two jars of kombucha (1). A friend gave me the starter and I love it, flavoured with mango, cinnamon, mint and verbena, citrus peel …
Around the hob, we’ve all our kilner jars (2) with spices and herbs, different flavoured salts. I like to have them where I can easily reach them.
I have different sets of knives for home and for work, although at home, they are just as serious as those I have at work. In particular, there’s a set of German knives in a solid oak rack
(3) lined with steel that I designed in partnership with David Linley, in 2008-9. We did a range of kitchen utensils, including these solid wooden chopping boards.
My grandfather did a lot of simple home baking, and I remember him always using this pestle and mortar (4) for grinding ingredients. Having it in my kitchen is a nice memento. He also used this sugar jar (5) for sweeties, and I’ve continued using it for snacks for the girls – but only when they’re good. Which isn’t that often at the moment. They are three-and-a-half and fiveand-a half, and constantly squabbling. Also they’re big enough now to grab a chair and help themselves. We’re going to have to do something about that …
Corny as it is, on family holidays it’s quite fun to buy magnets as keepsakes (6), so we’ve a collection in the kitchen. The photograph on the wall (7) above was taken way back in 2007 for the Observer Food Monthly’s Christmas cover. It was Gordon Ramsay in the middle being Jesus, and all the other rabble being disciples about to overthrow him: Marcus Wareing, Giorgio Locatelli, Angela Hartnett … all people I’ve known a long time. The photographer, John Reardon, told us all: “Just go at it, I’ll snap away.” So, we did. We started a food fight, and this was the result.
3 6 2 7 4 5 1