chef Phil Thompson

Phil Thompson shares his love of the varied Chilterns region and his gratitude to the suppliers and staff he works with …

An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty right on London’s doorstep, the Chilterns is an area of contrasts, with wild chalk downlands, ancient woodlands and tranquil streams but also the historic cathedral city of St Albans in the south, the vibrant new city of Milton Keynes in the north and the attractive market towns of Bishop’s Stortford in the east and Aylesbury in the west.

Phil Thompson, proprietor of the 2 AA rosetted THOMPSON St Albans, has made the region his own. He explains why he loves the area’s diversity and expresses his appreciation of the people there who have helped him achieve his dream.

“Although I’m originally an Essex boy from Dagenham, I’ve lived in Hertfordshire for 14 years now and the Chilterns area is my adopted home. Back in November 2013 I was fortunate enough to realise my dream of owning my own restaurant and in January 2016 [email protected] was renamed THOMPSON St Albans, fulfilling the first step of my future plans for the restaurant. THOMPSON St Albans is a relaxed fine dining environment, with a team of highly skilled chefs in the kitchen and expert and well-trained front of house staff who are bursting with passion and pride. As an independent business, our success is measured by the enjoyment, pleasure and feedback of our guests, which are vital not only to the business’ longevity but also to the team’s morale and satisfaction, giving us a real sense of value in what we do. Before I say more about the region in general, I’d like to say a big thank you to all our guests as well as to my loyal and committed team – I could not have done this without you.

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No matter what you’re looking for when choosing somewhere to dine, the beautiful Chilterns region is sure to offer what you’re looking for. St Albans is a beautiful, vibrant and historic city. I love the fact that there are so many different types of places to dine here, from big-name brands to independents. We have a farmers’ market on the second Sunday of the month, dating back to the 9th century, a French market twice a year and the St Albans and Harpenden Food and Drink Festival from 25th September to 3rd of October 2016, which features a wide variety of food stalls and cooking demonstrations, and which I am very much looking forward to participating in. As well as many wonderful restaurants, coffee shops and bars, St Albans has many other cultural and recreational delights, making it the perfect destination for a weekend away or a day trip.

The stunning countryside of the Chilterns, with its woodlands, fields and chalk downlands, supplies much of the natural produce that the chefs of Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire happily make use of. Local farms provide fruit, veg, free-range meats and dairy, while local breweries work to create the perfect tipple. I source ingredients for THOMPSON St Albans from baker Dolce Forno and my local veg man at Sparshotts. For a nice drop of ale, I look to The 3 Brewers of St Albans. All are a pleasure to work with, as are all the members of my tremendously loyal team. Many thanks again to them all.”

Read the latest review of THOMPSON St Albans, or discover the brand new Chilterns Food & Drink Guide online below. If you’d prefer a hard copy, you can find one to pick up for free from Waitrose stores in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Alternatively, order your free guide here.

Lucy Palmer

Lucy Palmer

Lucy is an ex-TEFL-teacher and keen foodie with a particular fondness for Sicilian seafood. She fancies herself as a bit of a linguist and enjoys delighting/boring her colleagues with language-related trivia. She is an obsessive reader, cyclist and collector of pebbles. Her most memorable experiences include climbing a Mayan pyramid at dawn, working with baby orangutans, and accidentally smashing all the company champagne glasses.

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