#MadeAtLeiths: Tom Tsappis - From money markets to supper clubs

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#MadeAtLeiths: Tom Tsappis - From money markets to supper clubs

Photo by https://www.elialondon.com/

Bringing back our #MadeAtLeiths series 2020 is Tom Tsappis - founder of Elia London, a Greek inspired supper club based in the heart of East Dulwich. Hear Tom's story of how he got here.

Before Leiths I had been living in Tokyo, where I worked in the money markets. When I moved back to the UK I decided it was time to make a change and that's when I decided on the 3 term diploma at Leiths. My interest in food was something that had developed during my time in Japan - if you don't want to eat Japanese food all the time, then really, your only option is to cook!

I started the diploma in September 2017. It was funny walking into a classroom again for the first time in over a decade, but I knew I wasn't the only one to feel that way. One of my classmates sliced his fingers open peeling a carrot because he was so nervous, and one of the girls on my table apologised to us for the way she looked, despite the fact we were all wearing the same uniform! It didn't take long for the whole class to become very comfortable with each other, and to this day many of us remain good friends.

I graduated Leiths with the highest theory exam mark and as wine student of the year, for which I was awarded an all-expenses paid trip to Burgundy. Of course I was delighted with this - I have never worked as hard as I did that year - but regardless of the prizes, my time at Leiths was one of the most rewarding of my life.

After graduating, I spent some time staging in Michelin starred restaurants including Aquavit in London and Man Behind The Curtain in Leeds, before setting up my supper club business; Elia London. At Elia, we run a multi-course tasting menu of Greek-inspired fine dining once a week from my South London apartment.

When I originally set up the supper club, I was unsure as to whether or not we would be able to pull people in - going to a stranger's house to eat a lengthy fine-dining style meal seemed like it might be a hard sell! However, I was wrong, and over a year in we have had customers from as far as Hong Kong, Australia and the Middle East, as well as a loyal group of local regulars. One of the great things about it, from a guest's perspective, is that they are in the heart of the kitchen and can see their food being prepared in front of them. They enjoy being able to ask me any questions about my cooking, which is great for me because, as I am sure my Leiths teachers can attest to, I'm always happy to have a natter!

The supper club is now sold out months in advance and we have recently been voted by Foodism as one of London's must-visit supper clubs.

Author: Tom Tsappis


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