Alex Bond and Tony Parkin: I thought I had taken the restaurant as far as I could take it.

Alex South

Alex South


Alex Bond and Tony Parkin discuss Tony having his initials on cushions, dealing with trolls after Great British Menu and why he chose to take on his latest role.

In this week’s episode of Grilled by The Staff Canteen head editor Cara Houchen was joined by co-host Alex, Owner of both the Michelin-starred Alchemillia, and Mollis, and their guest Tony Parkin, Head Chef of Michelin-starred House Restaurant at Cliff House Hotel.

During the episode, both chefs discussed everything from what gives them the ick to their worst dates.


Tony started his career off as an apprentice under John Campbell at The Vineyard at Stockcross which led him to go to Copenhagen to work at Kommendaten, then at Noma.

“When I moved to Copenhagen, I was only nineteen at the time and it was just a really random decision,” said Tony.

Revealing what prompted his move to Denmark, Tony explained: “The original reason I went to Copenhagen is because the hotel where I worked at the time I did my apprenticeship there was a lot of Danish girls that worked there. I was like 'wow, let's go to Denmark' and Denmark was not what it is now from a hospitality food industry point of view.”

On returning to the UK, Tony worked at Northcote, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and Restaurant Adam Simmonds at Danesfield House, as well in the private sector for Lord and Lady Bamford at Daylesford.


In 2019, Tony took the head chef position at The Tudor Room in Great Fosters before the restaurant was rebranded Tony Parkin at The Tudor Room.

In 2021, Tony released a cookbook, named after the restaurant. Tony Parkin at The Tudor Room was awarded a Michelin star in the 2020 Michelin guide after just 4 months, which was retained in the 2021 guide.

After leaving The Tudor Room, Tony worked briefly as head chef at The Brickmakers Arms in Surrey before taking his incumbent role as head chef at Ireland’s Michelin-starred House Restaurant at Cliff House Hotel.

Commenting on his decision to leave The Tudor Room, Tony explained: “I thought I had taken the restaurant as far as I could take it. I didn't agree with a lot of the things that are going on behind the scenes and also the hotel in general I didn't feel was matching the calibre of what we were doing in the restaurant.”

Discussing why he took the head chef position at the House Restaurant at Cliff House Hotel, Tony revealed: “A lot of people have commented on, and it was even something they put in the restaurant magazine, they said that the food was too modern for the surroundings and it was, whereas now this place is so modern and with the views and stuff like that when you look at dish on the table; it just works and the dynamics of it work and that's why I made the jump to come here because it suits it.”


In the podcast Tony explained how he felt more suited to working within a Michelin-star environment, where the demand and the attention to detail is a paramount factor for the kitchen staff.

“I couldn't see myself in the last place staying there, like cooking the food, it's such a different mentality and I think that's even from a customer perspective,” he said.

Expanding on what attracts him to Michelin-star kitchens, Tony explained: “People that came here last night know that they're going to be here for two and a half three hours, and I think it's just the attention to detail and the care that's put into it, for me that's where I'm most comfortable, probably same as Alex.”

When it comes to dining out both chefs take a more careful approach to where they eat with both Tony and Alex admitting that they’re “picky” about the places they chose to go.

"As you get older, like you say with your cooking style, you start to get more of a what I want to eat type of style, what I want to spend money on,” explained Alex.


Over lockdown before he left The Tudor Room, Tony spent his time writing his first book ‘Tony Parkin at the Tudor Room’.

The book which included recipes and insights into his culinary journey so far included a number of dedications from those closest to him, from his wife Laura to the many chefs who have cooked by his side including; Tim Sheed, Gareth Ward, Mark Birchall, and Tom Spenceley.

Commenting on the book, Tony said: “It's something that was captured in the time that I was there and again, it's nothing I'm negative about it's something that I did when I was at that restaurant, but a lot of those things like those dishes will probably evolve over time and again probably more so to suit what I'm doing here.”

Despite the book’s success and the critical acclaim, Tony confirmed that he had no immediate plans to write another one.

"I don't think I'd ever have got it done if I was working like I am now, because I did it in lockdown it didn't feel probably as brutal as it probably would do if I was trying to cook and I probably would have said no,” he explained.


During his time on Great British Menu, Tony faced a backlash from social media users after viewers believed he intentionally added chicken stock to a vegetarian thai green curry in honour of Ricky Gervais.

Despite the BBC confirming that no chicken stock was used and that this was a mistake in the script, Tony found himself harassed by users, with the Sun newspaper publishing the story.

“The average age of the people that were sending it to me were fifty, sixty, so I was basically getting bullied by a bunch of middle-aged fucking wankers,” he said.

Commenting on this experience, Tony explained: “There were some pretty fucking brutal things said, but at the same time it was just really boring because the problem was my phone kept on pinging off constantly and then you'd get the BBC's HR team contacting me and they were like 'yeah, just ignore it' but it's a little bit difficult when there were DMs through the roof of people going mad.”

When asked if it had changed his view on social media Tony said: “It was really boring as well because it's just like the same shit over and over again and The Sun just tap into what people are putting on Twitter, so they're like the worst ones.”

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall  – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 16 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 560,000 followers across Facebook, X, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

Alex South

Alex South

Editor 25th October 2022

Alex Bond and Tony Parkin: I thought I had taken the restaurant as far as I could take it.