This month, we’ve been lucky enough to catch up with renowned restaurateur and local mum of three Tommi Miers.

Tommi was catapulted into the public eye back in 2005 after winning the first series of Masterchef and since then, her career has gone from strength to strength, particularly with her co-owned, award winning  Wahaca restaurants. Tommi’s successes have led her to write for the Financial Times, the Times and write a regular column in the Guardian Magazine on Saturday.  To add to her burgeoning CV, Tommi has also written and co-edited a whopping 7 books, presented various cookery TV programmes and makes regular appearances on the radio.

Although Tommi is hugely inspiring in so many ways, she is also a local mum passionate about our community and improving food in schools – which is why she has taken such an instrumental role in the hugely popular Fork to Fork festival in Kensal Rise.

Here’s what Tommi had to say when she took on our ten questions…

You’ve had quite an illustrious career in the restaurant and food industry – what has been your career highlight to date?  

I guess Masterchef has to be pretty high up there but last year Sam Clark asked me to cook for a Breast Cancer fundraiser at Moro, one of my all-time favourite restaurants.  It was Sam, Skye Gyngell, Angela Hartnett, Margot Henderson, Marianna Leivaditaki and me all cooking dishes together.  I was unbelievably blown away to be included in such an amazing line-up.

When not in your own restaurants or cooking at home, where do you like to eat out with the family?

We don’t eat out that much together.  The children are still young and are massive Wahaca fans – they love to go and make their own tacos with the guacamole, grilled chicken and lettuce and I love visiting our sites.  Other than that we are entertaining at home where I am testing recipes and seeing friends, or me and my husband are stealing a night out on our own!

Where is your ideal place for a business meeting?

Always in a restaurant!

You’ve lived in our lovely part of London town for 10 years – what attracted you to the area?

It was my husband.  I confess he dragged me kicking and screaming from Shepherd’s Bush – I didn’t know the area at all and had no friends here – but I love it now, its lovely atmosphere, the market, the park – it is just great, and I’ve made so many lovely friends.

You’re incredibly involved with local school Ark Franklin’s Fork to Fork food festival – what made you want you to start / help run the event?

I knew that the local primary school was being taken over by the ARK academy so I wrote to them the summer before they came to see if I could work with them to transform their vast, but derelict outside space.  Six months later my PR agency, Gerber PR, introduced me to Laura Harper-Hinton, another local and co-founder of Caravan restaurants.  Through our mutual love of fresh produce, great food and education we decided to set up Fork to Fork to raise money to transform the space and create a blueprint for outdoor learning and good food in schools.

Which stalls are you most excited to see at this year’s Fork to Fork festival?

There are so many!  We have Michelin stars, crazily delicious streetfood, fresh pasta, tacos, great puddings, cocktails and so much more.  It is very very exciting!  Over 40 of London’s greatest restaurants are all congregating in the school to put on one amazing music and food festival.

Juggling work and home life is a challenge for so many of us working mums – how do you manage to get the balance right?  

It is a constant battle and I would be lying if I told you that I had ‘solved’ it.  I think like all eternal problems (equality, discrimination, world peace) there is never a permanent solution to these things, just a constant monitoring and attempt to keep things in balance.  I think it is great that the girls know that we both work for a living – I feel that is an important ideal to grasp – but I also spend my life wanting to spend more time with them.  But then don’t we all?!  I guess that is what holidays are for…. and I am lucky that when I work at home, cooking and testing recipes, I am with them and hanging out in our own environment.

There has been a number of press articles recently on the need for a re-introduction to home-economics in schools – what are your views on this?

Definitely.  This year Fork to Fork is supporting two food education charities: Flavour School and another charity launching imminently – both have a national ambition to create better food and food education in schools to inspire our nation to cook more and eat better (and with more fun).

Which dish do you enjoy cooking at home that is a firm favourite with all the family?

We do a great buckwheat pancake recipe from Home Cook that we fill with maple syrup and berries for weekend brunches and then swiss chard and ricotta for supper.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting their career journey in the world of food and restaurants –  what would it be?

Get some experience first and love what you do.  It is very hard to make any money in this industry so you have to know that you are going to love doing it above everything else.

Fork to Fork Festival is on Saturday 16th June 2018, 12pm – 6pm at Ark Franklin Primary, NW6.
Food stalls open 12pm – 3.30/4pm.  Bar, live music & kids activities will be on all day.
Tickets are £10 per adult, £2.50 per child (5-12) and free for under 5’s.

You can keep up to date with Tommi @thomasinamiers; Wahaca @wahaca & Fork to Fork @forktoforkfest

You can catch Queen’s Park Mums on FacebookTwitter and some general local musings on our Instagram page @queensparkmums.

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