A Quick Chat With: Tom Aikens

'Have dreams as they can come true if you believe in them'
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The Independent Online

Tom Aikens, 39, is a celebrity chef. He has created a seasonal menu for the Cloudy Bay Shack a pop-up airstream that will provide those picnicking in Parsons Green this weekend with the opportunity to enjoy a glass of Cloudy Bay wine.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be... I would be in the heat of the kitchen with my team of wonderful girls and boys.

A phrase I use far too often... 'take responsibility, use your initiative’.

I wish people would take more notice of... Noma and Facing Africa. It’s the charity that I ran for in the Sahara desert, doing the MDS. Its a terrible disease where the child is infected with a gangrenous bacteria through infections caused through malnutrition. 90% of kids have that.

A common misperception of me is... that I’m an angry person. Most of it is fair enough - I was a bit angry when I was in my twenties! - but I have definitely mellowed.

The most surprising thing that ever happened to me was... going to Buckingham Palace and meeting Princess Anne as an ambassador for team 2012

I'm not a politician but... I would improve the transport in London, particularly the tube. I’d try and bring in proper air conditioning and music to the underground.

I'm good at... polo and I did fencing for a while.

But I'm very bad at... saying ‘No’!

The ideal night out is... having a great barbecue with friends in Ibiza, with grilled wild seabass marinated in wild dill and orange, big gambas with garlic and rosemary, plenty of rose, mojitos and maybe Pete Tong playing on the decks. Perfect!

In moments of weakness I... try looking at the bad times and thinking how lucky I am.

In another life I'd have been... a sportsman of some kind. Running, cycling, windsurfing, something like that.

The best age to be is… for me, it’s now. I have come through many hard things, and I have learnt an awful lot from it. I have become so much more thick-skinned and maybe less trusting than before.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is… believe and never give up. Have dreams as they can come true if you believe in them.