> Chefs

Tony Fleming

While less experienced chefs can be prone to over-complicating and over-garnishing dishes, Tony’s own style is remarkably restrained and uncluttered. Prime ingredients are showcased in all their natural glory; Tony takes time to develop relationships with his suppliers, and it shows. On the menu at The Baptist Grill – the main restaurant at L'Oscar – Tony shows off his deft touch with fish and seafood, alongside a range of clever vegetarian and meat dishes.

A straight-talking and lively character, Tony still believes it is of prime importance that a chef’s career is built on solid classical technique and regimented precision, but he is not inclined to take food too seriously either. 'Eating should be all about pleasure,' he says, 'and if you take the pleasure out of it there's no point doing it.' He stands staunchly against tasting menus for this reason – 'I just find the whole thing just a bit over-contrived and not a pleasurable experience,' he explains.

As for his own enjoyment, Tony remains a chef's chef to the core, and is still at his happiest behind the stove, despite his role as executive chef for all the food at L'Oscar.

'I like being with the team, by the stove, with the ingredients, doing the dishes, creating and doing the service,' he says. 'That's where the fun is. It's like, 'Why would I let someone else do that?' That's still the best part of my day, and the thing that will always take precedence over anything else, I think.'

Three things you should know

Not only is Tony in charge of The Baptist Grill at L'Oscar, he also oversees The Baptist Bar downstairs and Cafe L'Oscar – an all-day brasserie next to the hotel lobby.

Tony credits his expertise with fish and seafood to Jeff Galvin, who he worked under at Marco Pierre White's Oak Room, before he became head chef at Angler.

Tony prefers to cook with classic technique – avoiding sous vide in favour of charcoal grills, hot pans and foaming butter.