Tom Phillips, 25, first learnt about the Bocuse d’Or as an apprentice at The Ritz in London. As soon as the hotel’s executive chef and former candidate John Williams introduced the competition to him he was captivated.
Tom’s captivation became more serious during a conversation in the USA with current Bocuse d’Or title holder Mathew Peters from The French Laundry. Mathew told Tom that if he truly wanted to be involved in the world of the Bocuse d’Or he had to make it happen himself. On his return to the UK, Tom made his ambitions known to the UK Team and was one of five chefs invited to take part in the National Selection. Tom suitably impressed the judges and secured the opportunity to take the next step of his journey – to compete in the European final in Turin.
Having wanted to be a chef since working in a professional kitchen at the age of 15, Tom began his training at Bournemouth and Poole College where he undertook The Specialised Chefs’ Scholarship, a three year advanced apprenticeship which offers training in all aspects of professional cookery to the highest level. The scholarship is arranged by the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and managed by Bournemouth and Poole College.
Photography: Jodi Hinds