Ten chefs we love

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Chef Tom Sellers

 Amazing chefs have the ability not only to turn prosaic ingredients into something sublime, but also to change the way we look at food, design and culture as a whole. As part of our 100th anniversary series, here we look at 10 chefs we believe will help shape the future of dining. Some are new, others have been around a little longer, but between them we think they’ll have a huge impact on food in the decade to come…

Tom Sellers

Tom Sellers’s mission is to merge fine dining with forward thinking and that’s exactly how he realised his dream of opening a stunning restaurant at the age of just 26. His London-based Restaurant Story won a Michelin star the same year, with a second following in 2021. Tom learned to cook alongside some of the world’s finest chefs, including Tom Aikens and Thomas Keller. Restaurant Story is known for its signature dishes, including the edible candle which forms the heart of his ‘bread and dripping’, as well as an ever-changing seasonal tasting menu. To find out more about Tom and Restaurant Story, you can read our interview with him here.

Sarah Hayward Sarah Haywood Chef

The head chef at Tom Kerridge’s The Coach in Marlow, Sarah Hayward has quickly risen through the ranks. She had been working at Kerridge’s other restaurant – The Hand and Flowers – as a commis chef in 2015 when he quickly spotted her talent. The daughter of a chef, Sarah’s kitchen at The Coach is open plan, so diners can see her and the team preparing dishes for the small-plate menu. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is described as relaxed and accessible. 

Ben Tish 

Ben Tish Chef

We’re huge fans of Ben Tish. As the culinary director of the Stafford in London, he oversees the food offering throughout the hotel, including the renowned Game Bird restaurant. In September 2019 he opened Norma, which serves Sicilian Moorish- influenced dishes. You’ll also catch Ben on TV regularly on shows such as Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch and Masterchef. You can find out more about Ben and his food philosophy and cookery books by reading our interview with him here

Adam Purnell 

Known as the Shropshire Lad, Adam Purnell is a self-taught chef who specialises in cooking outdoors. He’s appeared on Escape to the Country and the Channel 4/Netflix show Crazy Delicious. Although he’s never worked in a professional kitchen, Adam’s father was a great cook, so he was exposed to cooking from an early age. His brilliant outdoor recipes have garnered much attention on his YouTube channel, and he’s set for a stellar career.

Shropshire Lad


Luke Selby Chef Luke Selby

Luke was born in Saudi Arabia, moving to Brighton as a child. He spent six years working with Raymond Blanc before joining Restaurant Gordon Ramsay under Clare Smyth. In 2016 he joined Ollie Dabbous, rising to head chef at Dabbous London, before winning the Roux Scholarship which enabled him to live in Japan and work at Nihonryori Ryugin in Tokyo. Along with his two brothers, Luke now heads up Evelyn’s Table which is located in the original beer cellar of The Blue Posts on London’s Rupert Street. It is an intimate chef’s counter, with a menu focused on British ingredients prepared using French and Japanese techniques.

Amber Francis 

Amber Francis’s career began in the kitchen at The Ritz hotel and she has also worked at the French Laundry. She has since gone on to develop a passion for cooking with seasonal, British produce. She is now head chef at the Zebra Riding Club, a largely self-sustaining restaurant within the grounds of the Hertfordshire retreat, Birch. With tasting menus including vegetarian, pescatarian and vegan options, it is well worth a visit. 

Chef James Cochran

James Cochran 

James Cochran opened 12:51 in Islington in 2018, the same year he won the BBC’s Great British Menu for the first time (he won again in 2020). James’s parents are from St. Vincent in the Caribbean and from Glasgow and he grew up in Whitstable in Kent and his mixed heritage is reflected in his innovative and exciting dishes. James also runs Around the Cluck, offering a gourmet twist on the classic fried chicken takeaway. 

Sertaç Dirik

More than 30 years ago Sertaç’s father, Ali, set up the UK’s first cult-status ocakbaşı (Turkish grilling) restaurant. His first, Mangal, and second, Mangal 2, became hugely loved and part of the fabric of Dalston. Mangal 2 is now run by Ali’s sons, restaurant manager Ferhat and chef Sertaç. While respecting the restaurant’s heritage, the menu is modern and worthy of London’s position in the global culinary scene. Adored by critics and Instagrammers alike, Mangal 2 is well worth a visit as Sertaç’s food looks as stunning as it tastes delicious. 

Richard Bainbridge 

Richard has worked in some of the most respected restaurants across globe, including for Michel Roux senior at the three Michelin-starred Waterside Inn, and for Günter Seeger (New York) and Kevin Thornton (in Dublin). When he returned to Norfolk he was head chef at Galton Blackiston’s Morston Hall. Then, in 2015, he opened his own restaurant, Benedicts, in Norwich with his wife Katja. Since it opened it has been in The Times’ list of top 100 restaurants and has garnered mainly accolades. In 2015 Richard won BBC 2’s Great British Menu and returned in 2017 as a judge. A destination restaurant, the Benedicts menu changes every four weeks or so, making it a place that is always exciting to return to. 

Isaac McHale

Born in Orkney, Isaac grew up in Glasgow where his fascination for food and cooking led him to a Saturday job at a local fishmonger. From there he worked in restaurant kitchens across the world, including the Marque, Noma, and Tom Aikens before joining The Ledbury. Eager to forge his own path, he then opened The Clove Club in Shoreditch Town Hall. It’s easy to see how his energy and enthusiasm has led the restaurant becoming one of the major players on London’s restaurant scene. Isaac also runs Luca, a restaurant which takes British ingredients and gives them an Italian accent.