After a successful sell-out residency with Michelin-starred KOKS last month, culinary platform Chef Residence is now turning the spotlight on another rising superstar in the Michelin circle. Chef Tom Sellers from London will be manning the kitchen of Flutes Restaurant at National Museum of Singapore to showcase his unconventional masterful dishes from March 29 – April 29.
One of the youngest Michelin chefs around, Sellers was only 26 when he opened his first flagship restaurant, called Restaurant Story, near London Bridge in 2013. The restaurant was awarded one Michelin star just five months after its opening, and received its second star last year. “It’s hard to say why we were awarded so quickly, but I’d like to think the originality and unique identity of Story played a part,” says Sellers.
“I always wanted a restaurant and always wanted to call it Story, because I was going to tell everyone what I was all about. My story, my life, everything I’ve worked for: the hours of blood, sweat and tears, it all came down to this,” he relates.
A lad with big dreams
Born into a working-class family in Nottingham, Sellers’ father was a welder — a typical man’s man who taught his sons how to fend for themselves. Working a local pub was where Sellers, then 16, discovered a love for food, as well as the same kind of brotherly camaraderie he enjoyed back home.
He then went on to hone his craft alongside some of the world’s greatest and most influential chefs, including Tom Aikens in London, Thomas Keller at three Michelin-starred Per Se in New York, and René Redzepi at two Michelin-starred Noma in Copenhagen — all before the age of 21.
Often mistaken for a bad boy behind the apron, Sellers displays full sleeves of tattoos with a permanent scowl on his face — yet he has the philosophical air of an auteur. Hardworking, real, relatable and honest, everything he does has a narrative or “story”. Take for instance his ink — he shares candidly: “The butterfly on my hand is about transformation, changing as a person. The doves signify that you shouldn’t be alone: a dove never flies alone. I guess I am an emotional person underneath the shell of bravado.”
His meteoric rise to success is the result of hard work, creativity and breaking convention, where he’s updated the once high-brow, stuffy, fine-dining culture to an aspirational, interactive, and playful restaurant experience.
The 10-table Restaurant Story in London has a six-month waitlist
At Restaurant Story, Sellers serves an ever-evolving tasting menu of delicate, masterful dishes inspired and led by the British seasons and the very best produce available. Each course imparts his memories through sight, smell and taste: it could be inspired by a moment in his life or the provenance of an ingredient.
“Having the freedom to express myself through the narrative of food and storytelling is something special. Inspiration comes from everywhere; the team around me, the weather, the season, or the colours I see,” he explains.
When asked what’s in store for Restaurant Story, Sellers replies: “We’re building a second floor at Restaurant Story due to open in late autumn 2022. This is going to allow us to continue elevating our guest experience!”
He is currently the official UK Chef Ambassador for Rolls Royce and Audemars Piguet. This summer, Sellers will also be devising the menu for The Treehouse, a brand new official hospitality experience for Wimbledon 2022.
On aiming for a third Michelin star, Sellers says: “We are constantly progressing and refining, always striving to be better. I am also surrounded by an incredible team with a great work ethic. Just carry on, stay in the saddle, refine our focus and keep progressing day by day.”
Cooking for Singapore
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As part of the residency at Flutes Restaurant, Sellers will be joined by his core team of five chefs and front-of-house staff. Incidentally, his general manager Ursula Ferreira has family in Singapore, and her connection to the culture is especially insightful for the team.
“I am extremely lucky to say that my work has taken me all over the world. I have had the chance to work alongside some amazing chefs and brands along the way. This is not my first time in Singapore as I’ve cooked at Raffles Hotel a very long time ago, though this is probably the longest residency we’ve done anywhere outside of London,” he reveals.
Cauliflower Custard and Caviar
The food will be progressive and playful as always, with inspiration gleaned from its location including London signatures like the Rabbit Sandwich, featuring pressed rabbit leg coated in polenta and fried with citrus pickled carrots and a tarragon emulsion; Paddington Bear, a marmalade sandwich with foie gras, cardamom and marmalade; as well as Cauliflower Custard with Caviar. To ensure the provenance in ingredients, the team at Flutes will also be assisting Sellers with the sourcing of fresh produce both locally and overseas.
“What we will bring to Singapore — the energy, the vibe, the way we’re going to serve the food — is going to add something special to the national treasures found at the museum,” says Sellers.
He continues: “The chance to tell a culinary narrative in the context of Singapore’s oldest museum and one of the city’s architectural icons is truly an amazing opportunity. Food is integral to any cultural experience, and so being within the museum, it is important for us to curate and deliver an exceptional menu for Singapore.”
Under the guidance of head sommelier Jonathan Kleeman, the beverage programme at Restaurant Story is attentively planned with Singapore’s leading wine bar, Park90, to curate an extensive wine pairing list. The wines will be specially handpicked to complement the progressive, playful dishes that will be served by Restaurant Story during the residency.
The Restaurant Story residency accommodates 35 pax at lunch and 45 pax at dinner, with prices starting from $268++ for lunch and $398++ for dinner. Alcoholic drinks pairing is available at an additional $148++ for lunch and $228++ for dinner. To book a table, visit chefresidence.com
Restaurant Story Residency at Flutes Restaurant
93 Stamford Rd
01-02 National Museum of Singapore
Lunch: 12pm–2:30pm (6 courses)
Dinner: 6pm–10:30pm (8 courses)