Tom Aikens: A Man of Good Taste
Chef Tom Aikens is a man of many talents. Awarded two Michelin stars by the tender age of 26 – the youngest chef in Britain to do so – Aikens cut his teeth with Pierre Koffman and Joël Robuchon, and now has several restaurants around the world including Michelin-starred Muse in Belgravia, which opened in January 2020. Out of the kitchen, he has completed the Marathon des Sables – a six-day ultra-marathon, spanning more than 150 miles across the Sahara Desert. His 1,000-strong collection of cookbooks is second to none. (Read all about it in the April/May issue of Harrods Magazine, available in-store and to eligible Harrods Rewards members.) Alongside the man and his illustrious accolades there is, naturally, a reliable wardrobe that can handle the heat of the kitchen and a busy schedule in between. Here, Aikens lifts the lid on his style journey, from the best chef shoes and his favourite jeans to his finely tuned grooming regime.
On Finding His Style
At a certain age, your mother stops dressing you. I think I was about 11 years old – 12, max. I’m a twin and, before that, we would always be dressed the same. It was really bad! When I look back at some of the clothes choices I made in my earlier years and twenties, I think, “Oh, my...” I wouldn’t say my taste has changed hugely, but my style has definitely flatlined. I know where I am now, and where my taste is – I’m not going to do anything extravagant. I know what suits me and what doesn’t.
On His Wardrobe Staples
If you go into my wardrobe, you’ll find a lot of blues as well as some browns and greens. I’m always in jeans – Frame, Rag & Bone, 7 For All Mankind – and probably a checked shirt, and I have a massive range of T-shirts. Because I’m in and out of work all the time, during the week my outfits have to be quick and easy.
Shoes are very important. I have Birkenstock shoes – lots of chefs wear them – with a slightly raised sole. They’re a good fit and give a lot of protection to your feet. At work, everyone wears a chef’s jacket for the prep, and we have tailor-made shirts that are 80% cotton with a polyester mix, so they wash well. The fabric needs to be quite heavy because of wear and tear and the amount of washes it’s going to get. They look quite cool, though – they have a very slim collar, kind of like a grandad collar, and quite a few buttons. Then, we have a heavy-ish blue denim apron which, again, is a great fabric for wear and tear. Finally, smart black trousers.
I started taking a lot more care of myself and my body in my mid-twenties. I was getting a bit of a pot belly, so I started running and training. I’m carrying that through to other chefs – I know what your body goes through, standing all the time. At work, I make sure that they stand up straight. “Posture, posture, posture!” Elsewhere, I’ve been practising skincare for at least 25 years with REN – I started using it when it first came out. I love it. Before that, I used Clinique for a few years. I always moisturise in the morning, and I have a whole regime when I go to bed: an eye serum, an oil, a night cream and a heavier cream. My wife is like, “What the...?”