Tom Tsappis, chef-owner Killiecrankie House. Credit Alex Baxter Photography
Tom Tsappis, chef-owner Killiecrankie House. Credit Alex Baxter Photography

In a nutshell, Chef Tom Tsappis: ‘I’d love to cook for Tom Cruise’

Chef Tom Tsappis and his wife Matilda moved from London to Killiecrankie in 2021 to realise their dream of opening their own restaurant. Killiecrankie House in Pitlochry was named restaurant of the year at the Scottish Excellence Awards 2024.


What’s the closest thing you have to a signature dish:

Dripping Fried Porridge. A piece of porridge cooked in Beef stock, and filled with slowly braised oxtail, before being fried in dripping. We top it with a pickled walnut puree, and Isle of Mull cheddar cheese.

Describe your style of cuisine in ten words:

Scottish produce, Japanese technique and imagination. 

Best and/or most memorable meal you’ve ever eaten:

Restaurant Alchemist, Copenhagen – six hours of technical wizardry, crazy ideas, and spectacle. 

Worst/weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten:

Cod Sperm, a Butterfly, Semi Dried Eel Liver (particularly bad)

Worst thing you’ve ever cooked:

We attempted to make a sweet cornetto once with seaweed, apple and miso – it was genuinely vile. That or a curried chicken liver macaron.

Favourite ingredient (could be an ingredient or spice which transforms dishes):

Soy Sauce/Tamari – we use it in everything.

Your go-to recipe book:

I own over 300, so not the easiest thing to narrow down.

What other country’s cuisine really excites and intrigues you?

I love Asian food – particularly Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

Most you’ve ever paid for a meal:

Around £1,200 a head at restaurant Alchemist in Copenhagen…

Your favourite Scottish chef:

Our commis, Jake Macleod. He makes me laugh every day.

Favourite chef outside Scotland:

Andoni Luis Aduriz – his food is wild. It might not be my favourite to eat, but you can’t help but marvel at it. 

Who taught you to cook or ignited your passion for food as a youngster:

I am from a very big Greek family and the two things that Greeks are particularly good at is forcing food into each other, and calling each other fat, so that probably had something to do with it.

Most important lesson a young chef can learn:

Mistakes happen. Don’t try and hide them. Don’t beat yourself up about them. Learn from them.

Best thing about the industry:

Working with the best produce to create something that you are genuinely proud of

Worst thing about the industry:

The unsociable hours

 What’s the biggest sin a chef can commit:

Knowing something is not right and trying to ‘get away with it’. You will always get caught out if you try and slip something sub-standard through.

What do you eat when you’re at home:

Rice and noodles. Not together.

Celebrity guest or your perfect dinner party – who would you most like to cook for:

Tom Cruise. That would be exciting. I have a mug with his face on, I bet he’d be pleased to know that. Maybe he could take me for a spin on his motorbike after, or in his private plane. We could get a beer in a cute country pub… ah, Tom

What’s your favourite wine?

Krug to start, Chateau d’Yquem to finish.

Your spirit of choice?

Whisky if neat. Rum in a cocktail (looking at you Pina Colada).

Do you play music in the kitchen and, if so, what’s your go-to track or artist:

We do. The chefs are in charge, I try not to get involved, which means largely it’s gangster rap or James Blunt, neither of which would have been my choice… There’s also been a lot of Des’ree recently if anyone remembers her?

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be:

I’d like to be a writer or a painter. Or make movies. Something creative. Failing that I would settle for ‘Independently Wealthy’.


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