SCOTLAND’S youngest-ever Michelin star chef has taken time out from getting his restaurant ready for reopening post lockdown, to talk to Wiltshire College & University Centre catering students.

Tom Kitchin joined Level 2 and 3 students from the Salisbury and Trowbridge campuses virtually via a Teams call last week to chat about his successful career as well as the difficulties and challenges faced for those in the catering and hospitality sector throughout the pandemic.

He also talked about the excitement and eagerness to reopen his restaurant, The Kitchin in Edinburgh, on Tuesday (April 27) , after lockdown restrictions were eased in Scotland.

Steve Lloyd, deputy head of the College’s department for catering, said: “It was a privilege to have Tom join us especially as he was gearing up to reopen his restaurant.

“The students found it really insightful and really enjoyed listening to what he had to say, before then having the chance to ask him their own questions.”

Tom runs the restaurant, which is situated on Edinburgh’s Leith waterfront, with his wife Michaela.

His philosophy ‘from nature to plate’ is all about seasonal cooking using the best quality ingredients from Scotland’s natural larder.

Tom discovered his passion for the kitchen when he took a job after leaving school washing dishes.

“It was the excitement and adrenalin of working in a professional kitchen that made me fall in love with cooking,” he said.

He then went to study cookery at Perth College and began his career at the prestigious Gleneagles Hotel before going on to work for some of the most renowned chefs and restaurants in the world.

This included Pierre Koffman and the three-star La Tante Claire restaurant in London, where Tom said he realised very quickly he needed to knuckle down.

He also worked at the three-star Michelin restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris and the three-star Michelin Le Louis XV restaurant in Monte Carlo.

He said: “I remember going to London thinking I was a hot shot. Within five minutes I realised I wasn’t!

“One of my first jobs working for Pierre Koffman was to get in the kitchen before anyone else and get hold of the pots and pans for my sous chef before anyone else.

“You needed to have the very best and once you’ve set the standard early on, it always stays with you.”

When Tom and Michaela opened the The Kitchin 15 years ago, they had a second-hand fridge and borrowed pots and pans.

However, it quickly became known as one of the finest places to eat in the country, and Tom said he still loves every single day and can’t wait to open back up to the public.

He said: “Covid has been really challenging for us all, and I’m sure it has for you as students as well.

“I’m really looking forward to the reopening though even though we will have to close at 8pm and no alcohol is permitted, and we’ll be serving up some of our favourite dishes which are in season.”

Aleyah Miller, from the Trowbridge campus, is studying the Level 2 one year course and said: “I would like to start my own business, but have some doubts and concerns.

“Tom said to go for it and to just keep going even if people turn you down, sharing his own business story.

“His comments made me feel much stronger and more confident about my goals.”

For more information about the College’s professional cookery courses and apprenticeships, visit