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Ready, steady, cook with chef Tony Tobin at Reigate’s Eat Food Fest 2016

PUBLISHED: 10:38 11 July 2016 | UPDATED: 10:38 11 July 2016

Tony in his element at The Dining Room (Photo: Ade Webb)

Tony in his element at The Dining Room (Photo: Ade Webb)

Archant

One of the county’s top chefs and long-time friend of Surrey Life, Tony Tobin will be bringing plenty of culinary fun to this month’s Eat! Food Fest in Reigate with his demos. Here we put him under our spotlight

Foodies flock to Priory Park (Photo Sean McKee)Foodies flock to Priory Park (Photo Sean McKee)

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2016

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So how’s life at your Reigate restaurant, The Dining Room?

I came here nearly 22 years ago and was lucky enough to buy the restaurant with my business partner over 10 years ago. It’s been an interesting time, riding through the recession and now with Brexit on the horizon. It’s put a little indecision in the market but we’re still doing fine. For the last couple of years, I’ve been more of an executive chef and worked the front of house (sharing rubbish jokes with customers etc) while my head chef Lewis Evans, who has been here for 10 years, sorts our creations out. I really enjoy it to be honest and it gives you a great insight into your restaurant.

Has your style changed in recent years?

I’m the wrong side of 50 these days and definitely found my ‘Tony Tobin’ style a long time ago – it’s quite classic. I’m a white plates and complete dishes kind of man – don’t feed me something deconstructed on a roofing slate, please! That said, we’re always on the lookout for new ideas and visiting inspiring restaurants so there’s always room for change.

Are you working on anything outside of the restaurant?

We try to get involved locally as much as running the place allows. So we feed the volunteers at the Reigate Half-Marathon, still run our Never Mind the Scallops food stall at events when we get the chance and, as a big gin fan, I’m working through some ideas about making our own. We’ve got a massive gin list and all the trimmings at The Dining Room, but it would be nice to add our own too. The research is a lot of fun.

Anything you’re particularly looking forward to at the Eat! Food Fest?

Well, I’ll be doing a couple of demos for a start so that’ll be fun. I’m not entirely sure what yet as I like to use what’s fresh – maybe a 20-minute dinner party or something? I’ll also be helping out the guys at Robert & Edwards butchers with their demonstration. Hopefully, we’ll have plenty of other Reigate businesses showing off their thing.

What makes Reigate so special?

You can come and eat pretty much anything from all around the world – from fine dining (I hate that term, by the way!) to French via Thai, Indian and Chinese etc. They’re good too. There is so much competition but there’s room for us all and Saturday nights are thriving.

• EAT! Food Fest returns to the beautiful sunken gardens of the Grade I listed Reigate Priory on Saturday July 23. For more information about the festival, visit eatfoodfest.co.uk. Find out about Tony’s latest menus at tonytobinrestaurants.co.uk

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