This young, energetic chef has been flown in fresh from London’s top restaurants to give fine dining a new flavour in Nairobi. His excitement for food is insatiable; in his jaunty purple trousers as he dances around the kitchen enthusing about his hand-made Viennoisseries, you might mistake him for a twenty-first century Willy Wonka. But get him onto the Josper and he raves about his ultra-modern cooking techniques — inspired by Heston Blumenthal — taking on a more serious, scientific culinary guise in his white chef’s suit that could double up as a laboratory coat.
Tonks is fanatical about finding the best local produce. He’s toured the country is search of the finest meat from Morendat Ranch, fish fresh from the nets at Watamu, grade-A export quality fruit and vegetables hand-picked for Finlays and artisan cheeses from Brown’s. Anything that doesn’t meet his exacting standard will be imported or made from scratch by Tonks himself. He has newly completed a course in patisserie-making at Flourish Craft Bakery in London and is now producing golden, fluffy pastries crafted by hand.
His fastidious approach to sourcing ingredients and his innovative cooking techniques are borne out of 15 years’ of Michelin star-studded experience. He started out at The Dorchester Hotel at 22 years old, under the guidance of Willie Elsener before heading to one Michelin star Chapter One under the guidance of John Wood. He then worked at L’Odeon Restaurant as Sous-Chef at 25 years old for Anthony Demetre before moving with him to open Putney Bridge Restaurant as Senior Sous-Chef. He celebrated the restaurant’s first Michelin star within a year of opening.
He then took on the position of Senior Sous-Chef at the age of 27 with John Burton-Race at his two- Michelin star restaurant The Landmark. At 30, he was appointed Head Chef at McClements Restaurant where he impressed guides, critics and diners to earn the accolade of Michelin star, three AA rosettes, 7/10 in the Good Food Guide – all within a year of being at the helm. Most recently, he became Executive Head Chef at The Threadneedles Hotel, a five-star boutique hotel in London’s Square Mile. He raised the profile of the hotel’s restaurant, Bonds to make it a top London dining venue and gained high critical acclaim for his modern contemporary cuisine. This won him three AA Rosettes, 6/10 in the Good Food Guide and inclusion in The Michelin Guide.
Now with a taste for adventure in a new city, Tonks has come to Nairobi to update the flavour of fine dining and re-interpret Kenya’s best produce into Michelin stars at Hemingways’ newest venture.