Seamus Sam, Head Chef at Muse by Tom Aikens: ‘The biggest challenge is trying to work out how to get the best out of people’

The Staff Canteen

Seamus Sam is the head chef at Michelin-starred Muse by Tom Aikens in Belgravia, London. He originally worked for Tom at his flagship restaurant on Elystan Street in 2012 before working at The Clove Club and Restaurant Story and then coming full circle in his latest role.

He is responsible for the day to day running of the restaurant on behalf of Tom, including dish development.

“The relationship between me and Tom is very collaborative,” explained Seamus. “In terms of how we put things on the menu, we always try and sit down every couple of weeks and discuss what’s coming into season, as well as what Ideas we have and from that I’ll take it away and give him some testers of things - when we are happy, we are ready to go.”

He added: “It definitely comes more naturally now. It used to take a lot longer to get dishes on the menu. Now it’s easier to intertwine our thoughts.”

Muse by Tom Aikens


unique restaurant

Muse is quite a unique restaurant in the fact it is split over two floors. With a total of 26 covers - upstairs is 20 seats including six on the counter and there are six seats downstairs on the counter as well.

The kitchen team consist of 10 chefs, including Tom, and the upstairs kitchen looks after the hot food and downstairs looks after larder and colds and the pastry section.

Seamus said: “I’d class the food as modern British, but we definitely like to take ideas from all over the world. I think, living in London, it’s hard not to be inspired by different cultures and countries.”

Accolades and staff retention

Muse boasts one Michelin-star and five rosettes and while accolades are important to Seamus and the team, he’s most proud of the staff retention this year.

“We’ve only lost one or two at the start of the year, it’s been a full team – that’s something I’m super proud of.”

Muse by Tom Aikens


He added: “I believe a successful restaurant is a busy restaurant. That’s something we are close to, but we can definitely still improve. We want happy customers but also happy staff as well. That is just as important if not more important. We are a close-knit team, almost like a family.

“The key to retaining our staff I think has been cutting down the working hours a little bit. We are doing seven shifts a week, which is pretty unheard of I’d say, we’re definitely one of few Michelin-starred restaurants which are doing it. That really gives our chefs time to recover but we also demand a lot when they are here because they are here less than most restaurants.

“That has to be the case in the whole of the restaurant industry – we need to reduce working hours to get the staff that we need.

biggest challenge

“The biggest challenge is trying to work out how to get the best out of people. Everyone is very different in regard to how they are motivated so just working that out is key.”

It is not easy working for one of the ‘culinary heavy weights, but Seamus says he enjoys the pressure.

“Tom is obviously a super, high profile, chef - it definitely puts a little bit of pressure on myself. The expectations of the people coming to the restaurant are high and it’s something that we like to thrive on.”

As with many young chefs, his main goal is to one day open his own restaurant but at the moment he is very happy in his role.

He said: “I’ve learned a lot from Tom and he’s a great mentor. But as an ambitious chef I think, you do want to be your own boss, that’s the end goal.”

Muse by Tom Aikens


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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 24th January 2024

Seamus Sam, Head Chef at Muse by Tom Aikens: ‘The biggest challenge is trying to work out how to get the best out of people’