Barry Tonks has been cooking in some of London’s finest kitchens for over 20 years accumulating awards, accolades, press acclaim and a Michelin star. He has worked at legendary establishments such as the iconic Dorchester Hotel, The Landmark and Les Deux Salons.
Tonks has been heading up the kitchen with Searcys at The Gherkin as Executive Chef since November 2015 and has achieved a huge amount in his 24 months leading the kitchen teams at that venue.
Highlights of his culinary journey of Searcys at The Gherkin include a series high profile ‘pop ups’ and collaborations. Tonks has demonstrated his huge range of skills and interests with partnerships ranging from celebrity chef Monica Galleti in January 2016 to a collaboration with ‘Clean Eating’ Alice, a popular food and health blogger in January 2017.
Tonks masterminded the incredible success of the ‘Summer Sky Rivieria’ pop up in summer 2016 where menus and ingredients were sourced and inspired by the Cote d’Azur region. Over 6 weeks 3,000 guests experienced this highly popular menu.
In 2017 Tonks opened a British inspired pop up at The Gherkin which links to his passion for British sourcing and produce. The menu is devised as a map which links all the key ingredients in the menu to their place of origin, for example langoustine from Scrabster, cod from Peterhead and Suffolk charcuterie. The sourcing is truly coastal and guests love the link to the journey outlined on the map.
The style of Tonks food is enjoying preparing for his guests is contemporary British. The dish creation is well rooted in tradition and heritage, and executed with modern simplicity and flair. For example dishes such as Langoustine cocktail, Beef Wellington, Classic sherry trifle and bread and butter pudding at Searcys at The Gherkin. Revisiting classic British dishes with a fun and modern styling is the plan for Tonks and his menu development.
Another key element is working in collaboration with the head sommelier and head of bars to ensure the perfect wine pairings and cocktails that work seamlessly with the bar menu.
Within the Gherkin Tonks is responsible for the whole food offer which encompasses a wide range from the fine dining restaurant to the bar menu, and from private members lounge all day menu to a banqueting menu which provides for the huge volume of events held at the Gherkin every year.
Tonks has revolutionised the events menu offering, saying it is just as important as the fine dining restaurant. The diverse range of what Searcys at The Gherkin offers showcases the skill of Tonks as a creative and innovative chef.
Prior to his success at Searcys at The Gherkin, Barry Tonks began his career at in the capital at The Dorchester Hotel, under the guidance of Willie Elsener and then went on to work at Chapter One Restaurant under the guidance of John Wood.
He then went to work at L’Odeon Restaurant as Sous-Chef under the guidance of Anthony Demetre before moving with Anthony Demetre to Putney Bridge Restaurant as Snr Sous-Chef, where it was to gain a Michelin* within its first year of opening.
He then took on the position of Snr Sous Chef with John Burton-race at his 2 Michelin* Restaurant John Burton-Race at The Landmark under the guidance of John Burton-Race and Martin Burge.
He then took on his first Head Chef position and was appointed Head Chef at McClements Restaurant where he made a huge impression with guides, critics and dinners achieving a Michelin*, 3 AA rosettes, 7/10 in the Good Food Guide all within a year of being at the helm.
He then was appointed Executive Head Chef at The Threadneedles Hotel, overseeing all food concepts within one of ‘The Square miles’ Top 5 star boutique hotels and making Bonds Restaurant and Bar the City’s Top dinning destination with huge critical acclaim from critics and dinners for his style of ‘modern contemporary cuisine’
After a short stint in Nairobi as Executive Chef where he opened Hemingways Nairobi a 5* luxury Boutique Hotel in Nairobi Kenya. Tonks returned to London with Prescott & Conran to over see the relaunch of Anthony Demetre’s former West End Brasserie Les Deux Salons in Covent Garden which received huge critical acclaim from critics and dinners for his style of ‘modern contemporary cuisine’ including 4 stars from Fay Maschler of evening standard.