Chef Tom puts ‘new spin on Welsh classics’

Tom Waters has opened his restaurant Gorse on a permanent site in Cardiff, after a successful run as a pop-up. Taking over the former site of dog-friendly cafe Fido on Kings Road in Pontcanna, he offers a tasting menu using prime Welsh ingredients to a maximum of 22 guests.

Newport-born Tom trained under fellow Welsh chef Bryn Williams at Odette’s in London, before moving on to The Square in Mayfair and Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck.

He says: “Gorse is about capturing local ingredients at the peak of their deliciousness and serving them in creative and sometimes unexpected ways. We have some of the best produce in the world in Wales – including an amazing coastline (which inspired our restaurant name) and is full of amazing seaweed, fish and wild ingredients.

A good example would be to look at laver, which is traditionally boiled down to make laverbread. Instead, we take it, we dry it, and we add it to some delicious, cultured butter to serve with our buttermilk bread, or we make a broth with it – taking influence from Japanese cuisine.

Gorse is all about dishes like that – putting a new spin on some classic Welsh ingredients and framing them in a new light.

Tom says he had no interest in cooking until he spent six months in Paris as a language student at Bristol University, and bought his first cookbook at the age of 21 – by chef Phil Howard of The Square, for whom he later worked. He credits Glyn Williams as his mentor, for taking a punt on a late-starter in the kitchen.

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