My Home: Tom Aikens, chef

Not long ago, Tom Aikens lived in a flat so freezing he slept in his coat. Now a Michelin-starred restaurateur, he can afford serious luxuries
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Tom Aikens, 36, has an eponymous, Michelin-starred restaurant in Chelsea. He lives in Battersea with his girlfriend, Amber Nuttall, herself a former chef who now works in public relations

My new home is in complete contrast to the first place I lived in London, with my twin brother Robert, when I moved here from Sussex 14 years ago. No curtains, ice on the windows and bare floorboards were just a few of its more redeeming features, and it wasn't in the most salubrious neighbourhood; we were sandwiched between a prostitute on one floor and a drug dealer on the other.

It was a very cold flat, and the electricity meter would always run out in the middle of the night. We used to have to sleep in the same bed, with hats on, gloves, trousers and even coats!

After that we bought a place together in Clapham for £83,000, which we sold three years later for triple the money. During the time I was working with Marco Pierre White at Pied à Terre, I shared a flat with a girlfriend near Charlotte Street. I did a lot of the improvements myself to it: all the skirting, the tiling in the kitchen and laid the floors.

Now, this is my home - I bought it several months ago and have just moved in. It's a wonderfully relaxing place, and I haven't had to do a thing on the DIY front.

The overall feeling is quite minimal and cool-looking. It is white throughout with a few decorative edges.

There is some wallpaper by Cole & Son in our bedroom, and a sumptuous white cushioned bed, which was made by the upholsterer Ben Whistler and shown at the Decorex furniture exhibition recently. Some of the furniture we inherited from my girlfriend's mother; others we found ourselves from French antique markets. The kitchen is one of my favourite rooms, it is by Gaggenau and cost around £30,000. I know I could have got a great car for that money - it is a big investment. Already I think the work we've done has doubled the value of the flat.

We did manage to economise slightly with the cabinets that we got from Magnet. The cooker is amazing - it has a convection oven and steam, which is great for cooking bread.

I usually go to the farmers' market at the weekend and then will make something like a vegetable salad or slow-roast joint of meat. Even though I am cooking every day in the restaurant I love making meals for friends and family and having people over.

The dining room is the first room you reach as soon as you come into the flat, and all the other rooms lead off it, so it has quite a central hub feel. We have a little white cuckoo clock that we got from the Conran Shop that sits on the right-hand wall, and there are some white ostrich eggs above the fireplace that I picked up in South Africa next to the dining table.

Most of my possessions have been in storage for the last few years, so it is quite a relief now that we have bought a place to see all these things that made up my life: records, pictures, photographs and things.

I am really into music, and have a huge collection of vinyl from the late Eighties and early Nineties. I used to be into house music a lot, though now I like everything from Macy Gray to Madonna and Coldplay.

Another of my favourites is the wet room, next to our bedroom. It is completely water-tight and it is really nice to have a shower that is spacious. It has a glass door and a granite floor. We also have an en-suite bathroom in the guest bedroom that has a wood-covered bath and wooden shutters around all the windows.

I adore clothes and so does my girlfriend Amber, so we have indulged our passion with a walk-in wardrobe; it actually used to be a bedroom. The shelves are made from walnut and the panels are mirrored. On one side I have my collection of shirts, about 30 of them. I love the feeling of putting on a new crisp Kenzo or Gucci shirt on the weekend. All my jackets are by Dolce & Gabbana. You wouldn't think I have a lot of time to wear my smart clothes because I work most days from 6am till 11pm. But there are always nights out and weekends.

We recently got a new flatscreen, thin-as-a-biscuit television. I don't watch much TV during the week, but I do like watching DVDs like The Pelican Brief, The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption.

I love travel and have been to South Africa, the Maldives, Hong Kong and the Bahamas in the last few years. When I trained with Joel Robuchon in Paris I lived there for a year in a beautiful apartment that overlooked the Seine. I used to walk everywhere around the city, never taking the Métro, just taking it all in.

Another of my passions is photography. Every time we go away I take masses of snaps. A good friend who is a photography agent swears I could make it as a professional - but I may not give up the day job just yet.

When I worked as a chef for Andrew Lloyd Webber I enjoyed the rest and the diversity of just cooking for a family. But running your own restaurant is much the most exciting thing. My current home is ideal as it is only a 10-minute cycle ride from my restaurant in Chelsea. When my new restaurant opens just around the corner next month my only issue will be whether I get to spend enough time at home.

'Tom Aikens Cooking' is published by Ebury, £25. Tom's Kitchen opens 2 November; www.tomaikens.co.uk

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