I recently had the pleasure of spending some quality time with the enigmatic Liam Tomlin at his extremely successful flagship restaurant and cookware shop, Chefs Warehouse on Bree street in Cape Town.
I use the phrase ”quality time” because our usual conversations are ‘on the hoof’ whilst being shown to a table in one of his three current eateries of note.
It appears that Liam has been in the industry for over 35 years in one guise or another. Everything from washer up to head chef. Whilst in the driving seat of his first restaurant, Banc, in Sydney, Australia he was awarded the restaurant of the year in 2001 by The Sydney Morning Herald, no mean feat!
He arrived here in South Africa twelve years ago and immediately started work on planning and looking for premises as a launch pad for Chefs Warehouse, an entirely new concept, for Cape Town at least.
I digress, however, as my main reason for wanting to chat to Liam was to express my delight at the way the chefs at Beau Constantia, Thali and Chefs Warehouse have been given carte blanche (or so it seems) with their input, chef skills and management capabilities.
Ivor Jones at Beau Constantia spent 9 years under the watchful eyes and wings of Luke Dale Roberts at The Test Kitchen before he approached Liam (at Lukes suggestion) when he heard of the plans afoot for Chefs Warehouse. Ivor is a truly superb culinary artist as well as managing his extremely competent assistant chef David and superb waiting staff, under the ever watchful eye of Jamie. It appears that Liam’s decision to offer partnership to Ivor has been the inspiration that Ivor needed and greatly appreciated, and it shows!
The resident chef at Thali (Liam’s latest successful venture) on Park street is John Van Zyl who had previously been part of the winning team with Liam at Chefs Warehouse for 5 years. His expertise and adventuresome spirit with food and spices is wonderful.
The current wizard of the kitchen at Chefs Warehouse is Graham Oldfield who has been with the team there for two years. It is obvious to me that the ongoing success of Chefs Warehouse is in no small way greatly attributed to Graham.
I feel privileged to have spent some time with the maestro of Cape Town eateries and look forward to his continued well-deserved success and inspirational management and operational skills.