An interview with Tom Aikens
With a focus on quality, creativity, craftsmanship and service, and a global career built out of the home of the first ever Tom’s Kitchen in Chelsea, renowned chef Tom Aiken’s values and ambitions are remarkably aligned with Morpheus’ own. Whether designing an acclaimed menu for a Michelin starred restaurant, or the layout and interiors of a fine dining space, using the best possible ingredients and focusing on the overall presentation whilst paying close attention to the finer details remain just as important. Morpheus and Tom talk shared values, inspiration and what’s next for Tom’s Kitchen.
What inspires you?
I’ve been fortunate enough to work alongside some of the world’s best chefs who were a huge inspiration to me and included French chefs such as Joel Robouchon and Pierre Koffman. They have both been real inspirations to my cooking and certainly have influenced my style. I also admire chefs like Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse and the Roux brothers; not only have they revolutionised the industry with their cooking, but they are also great businessmen. My mother was also a great influencer of mine. She was a great home cook, so from a young age I would try to help my mother in the kitchen with making basic cakes, biscuits, jams – anything I could get my hands on.
How important is presentation and the overall experience for diners visiting your restaurants?
100% important. In all my restaurants the customer’s experience and journey is key.
Do you see a link between the design of your food and the design of your restaurants?
Our restaurants are all rustic, comforting and relaxed, matching the style of food we serve. Provenance and our suppliers are fundamental to Tom’s Kitchen both in the food and design, with huge supplier canvases hanging on the restaurant walls, all representing the suppliers we have used for years.
Are you influenced by food trends or do you maintain a timeless approach to your menus?
It’s fascinating to watch the development of new trends and ideas in food and restaurants. I’m never one for following a craze but I always make sure we keep ahead. I read a lot of different articles on food development via the magazines and various blogs. New ideas come and go very quickly and it takes a lot to make one single idea into an actual reality. Therefore, it’s very important to surround yourself with creative influences and stay true to your own style. I love to bounce ideas around and gain any valuable feedback on a new idea before I introduce it to the paying customer.
You focus on using the very best seasonal, locally and ethically sourced ingredients in your food. Do you consider that your point of difference?
Sustainability is the key element to get the best-quality ingredients. If the ways the produce is grown are harmful to the planet then it is damaging the produce itself which, of course, affects its taste. I believe that the best meals can be made from the most simple recipes, provided that you get the best ingredients, so our food is strongly linked to the whole concept of sustainability. I think more and more people are becoming more aware of the planet they live on and how they can help, therefore an increasing amount of chefs are following a similar track. Our main point of difference is that the restaurants have been following this ethos for ten years since opening in Chelsea, and I personally have always cared about sourcing and sustainability, therefore our passion and loyalty to our ethos is exceptionally strong.
Your career and profile is becoming more globally prolific. What made you choose Istanbul as a location to open a new restaurant?
For Tom’s Kitchen I work with D.ream based in Istanbul. Therefore, it seemed like a natural fit to expand the brand to there. I love to experiment with a variation of interesting and exciting flavours, so the selection of Turkish spices that can be found in the Istanbul Spice Bazaar are my favourite Turkish ingredients. You can transform any dish with just a hint of spice and having such a vast amount to choose from makes visiting the spice market one of the most enjoyable parts of my trips. As I am extremely passionate about cooking with fresh produce, I love visiting markets and meeting with real people and suppliers to see what such an amazing country has to offer and how I can deliver that to my restaurants.
What’s next for you and for Tom’s Kitchen?
We have lots of exciting plans for both the restaurants and delis… That’s all I can say at the moment but this year’s going to be a great one.
For more information regarding the Morpheus Design House please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is your background and how did it lead to your role at Morpheus? My experience in the CGI world started when I got my very first camera; I felt for a moment the power to stop the time, the world and the actions of the people around me. But somehow it wasn’t enough and […]
“In this edition of our design journeys, we take you through the Morpheus process of creating an award winning chalet in the French Alps. Having been introduced to the project in 2016, Morpheus were tasked with creating initial concept designs for a private chalet and from there, we took the inspirations through concept design and […]
So Tarquin, you have created Cornwall’s first gin in over a century. What was your original inspiration to undertake such a challenge? At the age of 19 I trained as a chef in Paris and then went on to work in a number of different kitchens across France. I’ve always had a passion for developing, […]
“Masterpiece’s star is rising. The event is fast becoming the most imaginative and glamorous art antiques fair in the world…” (The Financial Times, Susan Moore). This year Morpheus have collaborated with Jetfly, the European leader in luxury aircraft, to proudly partner with Masterpiece. This highly anticipated leading international event hosts the very best in fine […]
Salone del Mobile is always an exciting event in any interior designer’s calendar, and this year two of the Morpheus team made the trip to Milan. There were a number of trends and exhibitions that particularly interested our designers, from state-of-the-art technology through to creative art. Whilst the official Pantone colour of 2017 is green, […]
Andrew Murray catches up with Simon Shaw in Morpheus’ recently completed club lounge at Six Senses Residences Courchevel. So Simon, important questions first, as one of the tallest English rugby players how is your skiing going? As you have already seen from our brief encounter on the slopes, whilst not being as technically proficient as […]
In times of fast living and mass consumption a new trend has been emerging in recent years; a desire for uniqueness, authenticity, reliability and craftsmanship. British brands are renowned for their manufacturing, excellent quality, innovation and durability, therefore it shall come as no surprise that international consumers will pay premium prices for British products and […]
When it comes to elevating an interior design scheme from great to exceptional, the magic lies within the detail and the layering of exquisite materials. These edifying details can be found in many different elements of a design, from a perfectly cast metal arm set into a rich silk velvet upholstered chair, or a specialist […]
“When I am shooting architectural and interior spaces I look to break all my images down into the basic components of geometry and light, which are the framework on which the colour and design details hang”
Neil Jacobs is the chief executive officer at Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas. With over three decades in the hospitality industry Neil is passionate about wellness, sustainability, inventive design, food and experiential travel. Six Senses Residences latest offering is in Courchevel 1850, with the interior furnishings designed by Morpheus.
The team at Morpheus prides itself on producing exceptional bespoke designs for our clients, with many external factors often incorporated in order to achieve this. The local environment often provides a significant influence on the design process, in order to achieve a synergy between what one sees on either side of the window.
In search of decorative inspiration and ideas this Christmas?
When it comes to Christmas trees, natural fir trees always look so much more inviting than their faux counterparts and of course provide that beautiful rich scent which is so evocative of the festive season.
Rule one of buying art is to buy what you love. The piece should resonate with you, have meaning, bring you joy and enrich your life. Much like architecture and interiors, choosing art is deeply personal and a piece that will make one person’s heart skip a beat will leave another completely indifferent.
In this edition of Dispatches we take a look at Monaco to coincide both with the Monaco Yacht Show and the unveiling of THIRTY NINE • Monte Carlo, Monaco’s first private members lifestyle club. Morpheus were commissioned for the design and brand architecture of this trail blazing project.
Morpheus has long recognised the quality of branding and the importance of typography in our designs and presentations. The ways in which typography can communicate the style, tone and voice of a brand makes it a large part of the design process when creating a new branding strategy for a project.
What has your first year with Morpheus London been like? It has been an interesting year! Having known Morpheus first from an external perspective, the company has an unsurpassed name in the industry which is something that really excited me when I was first approached about coming to head the design team. The last year has certainly lived up to those expectations!
Food is one of life’s great indicators. Reflecting social change it can be decadent in times of prosperity and austere in times of downturn. From the nouvelle cuisine of the 1980’s to the de-constructive trends of the early 2000’s, fine dining has an ability to adapt quickly to changing demands, adopting trends in other design industries.
All living organisms despite their spectacular, wondrous and sometimes bizarre diversity have at least one thing in common, the need of food to survive. The way this fuel is consumed varies significantly too. We need to eat and to that end devote a large amount of time and effort toward food preparation, far more than is needed for merely utilitarian nutritional purposes as food can be a great source of pleasure. It can engage our senses, minds and emotions just as much as carefully crafted architectural design and can take us from simply surviving to positively thriving.
I remember someone once shared the following notion with me: Architects do the pretty stuff, Engineers do the ugly details. For a person educated and qualified as both it struck a chord with me, and begs the question – what exactly is the relationship between the two disciplines? Are function and aesthetics compatible now more than they have ever been?
The highly regarded Furniture Fair, Salone Internazionale Del Mobile was hosted in Milan this month. The 6-day event, showcased the latest in furniture, lighting and home furnishing from designers across the globe. The Morpheus team were in attendance, keen to explore the latest trends and to discover a city rich in design history and creative prominence. We explored the Eurolace/design and modern halls during our visit to the Fieramilano.
‘‘Space has always been the spiritual dimension of architecture. It is not the physical statement of the structure so much as what it contains that moves us.’’ (Arthur Erickson) As designers we challenge, create and enhance the living environment. We can influence one’s lifestyle through the physical and psychological implementation of a design but it is not until the interface between space and the inhabitant/user begins that the design truly lives.
Alexander Lee McQueen BOOM A genius that mesmerised our world and then left it, leaving us with an open mouth, still fascinated, still excited. “Alexander McQueen was the rebel king of the British fashion. A designer who reinvented the catwalk and created clothes that silenced his audience. Brilliant, offensive, beautiful, outrageous.
The words ‘Sports Yacht’ traditionally evoke a fast and slender, white yacht gliding through the Mediterranean’s warm seas. Renowned yacht builder, Palmer Johnson, has turned this conventional notion on its head by designing the next generation of sport yachts transformed in its operational performance and design.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the international trade show Maison et Objet in Paris – one of the world’s largest interiors and homeware events. Featuring the hottest designs in furniture, fabrics, lighting, materials and accessories, Morpheus was on the lookout for innovative products, lavish finishes and an insight into the latest trends.
The Morpheus Design Team were tasked with creating a bespoke dining table for a recent residential project in London. This brief was a fantastic opportunity to work with a number of exceptional artisans and craftsmen in order to incorporate a combination of fine materials and innovative techniques.
With an increasing involvement in this prime European region and the surrounding areas and a number of interesting active projects, Morpheus took the opportunity to sponsor the Top Marques Automotive Show in association with Edmond de Rothschild held annually in Monte Carlo.
Seemingly the entire international design industry flocked to Milan in early April 2014 for Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the world’s largest and arguably the most important annual design fair, and the Morpheus London Design Team were thrilled to attend and bear witness.