In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, Mexico’s annual springtime fiesta, we caught up with Chef Tom Booton, The Grill at The Dorchester’s head chef and the latest amigo to collaborate with us on an exclusive taco mash-up. We chat all things food, including Tom’s dessert island dishes and the one ingredient he can’t live without.
Hey Tom, thanks so much for talking to us, and congratulations on the creation of one of the world’s most luxurious tacos ever. What is your ultimate favourite Mexican dish?
Sadly, I’ve never actually been to Mexico but it is definitely on my list of places to visit. I have to say, the classic Mexican margarita (with tequila, fresh lime and triple sec) is one of my favourite cocktails, and it always goes down well with pico de gallo on top of anything, especially fish tacos.
Other than the Casa Gets Grilled, what is your favourite dish on the Casa Calavera menu?
The nachos with cheesy chorizo sauce is 10 out of 10.
And what is the one ingredient you can’t live without?
I know everyone always says this, but it has to be Maldon sea salt. Definitely the best thing to come out of Essex.
Where is your favourite place to eat in London?
Smoking Goat (a Thai bar and grill) never fails to impress; it has double-tasty food and a really fun atmosphere. I’m also a massive fan of Indian cuisine: Rajput Restaurant in Marylebone is definitely one you should check out.
Tell us about the best meal of your life.
It was at Restaurant Zén in Singapore: Björn Frantzén’s really concept blew us away. I had the half and half matching menu: half of the dishes were paired with wine, and half with homemade juices and mocktails. This was the first time I had ever seen this offered: it was great to see the attention to detail put into each drink. The famous truffle toast was a true winner.
We think Mexican food should always be enjoyed on the beach, toes in the sand. What would be on your dessert island menu?
I’d choose butter chicken with plain rice and a Peshwari naan.
Who inspires you, both in your personal and professional life?
My parents are definitely the biggest inspirations in my life. In my professional career, it has been amazing to work with chefs like Ian Rhodes, the executive chef at Le Talbooth. I spent five years learning the ropes with him. Chef Alyn Williams was also very influential in my life: he gave me many amazing opportunities and a platform to showcase my ideas.
And where do you look for inspiration in your cooking?
The seasons tell me what to cook. At the moment, I am loving Isle of Wight tomatoes, and they will feature on the menu at The Grill at The Dorchester when we reopen later this month.
The food at Casa Calavera transports you to sunny climes and happy times. Where would you be, if you could be anywhere in the world right now?
It would have to be India. I love Indian food: the depth of flavours and spices in each dish. One day I will do a long tour around India.
Finally, how will you be celebrating Cinco de Mayo?
I’m going to enjoy a Casa Gets Grilled taco and a margarita. Perfect!
If you’re planning on celebrating Cinco de Mayo like Chef Tom Booton, you can order our Casa Gets Grilled taco alongside our other tacos and contemporary Mexican dishes by placing your order here. The Casa Gets Grilled, inspired by Tom’s renowned Cumbrian beef tartare dish, is available for a limited time only.