About our Patron…..
Tony Tobin started cooking professionally at the age of just 14 when he worked part-time in the kitchens of a restaurant in Warwickshire. He soon became hooked on the joy of cooking and studied for two years at Stratford-upon-Avon Catering College before taking up his first professional position in the kitchens of The Chester Grosvenor
In 1984, he moved to London to join the staff at the Capital Hotel, under Head Chef, Brian Turner. This was followed by a ground-breaking move to work for five years with Nico Ladenis. Tony started off at Chez Nico in Battersea, later becoming Sous Chef at Simply Nico in Westminster. When Ladenis opened Chez Nico in Great Portland Street, Tony stayed on becoming Head Chef at Very Simply Nico for two and a half years. At just 25, Tony took over as Head Chef at the South Lodge Hotel in Lower Beeding where the restaurant was awarded the Good Food Guide's Country Restaurant of the Year during this three and a half years in charge.
In 1992, Tony made his first television appearances in the BBC series Hot Chefs. The book of the series contained some of his own recipes, and the success of this project lead to many more TV appearances - most notably as a featured chef on Ready Steady Cook from 1995 onwards and as the presenter of the 13 part series Spice World and The Green Gourmet on the Carlton Food Channel.
To ensure that his 'day job' kept him creating culinary masterpieces, Tony became Head Chef at The Dining Room in Reigate in 1994. The quality of the food led to the restaurant becoming renowned as one of Surrey's finest - it was this quality that helped Tony to finally become Chef Patron. In 2001, insurance legend Peter Wood - whose Reigate-based firm, esure, is just a few hundred yards away - ate at the Dining Room, loved the food and struck up a friendship with Tony that finally resulted in the two becoming business partners and buying out the restaurant.
A message to Matthew's Friends from Tony
When Emma wrote to me, asking me to join Matthews Friends as their patron, I, like most people, had never heard of the Ketogenic Diet. Ignorantly, I presumed that all children suffering from Epilepsy were given drugs that stopped it. I had no idea of the cocktail of drugs some of these children have to take on a daily basis. I also didn’t know that in some cases the drugs actually make their condition worse not better. To then read that a diet can replace or reduce drugs and work is remarkable, especially when one third of children that go on the diet can become completely seizure free and go on to lead normal lives.
After reading Matthews story there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to help. Matthews Friends is an amazing charity and if by raising awareness of the Ketogenic Diet we can help other children like Matthew, then I am more than willing to do whatever I can to be part of it.
Since being on the diet Matthew and his family have come a long way and Matthew has made remarkable progress, but there is still a lot more that can be done. There are many other children like Matthew that could benefit from this diet if they were given the choice. This diet can work. Matthew and many other children like him are proof of that.
As a chef, the fact that this charity has a lot to do with food is obviously of great interest to me. Food has been a very positive part of my life, just like it has become a very positive part of Matthew's life.
I am honoured to have been asked to join Matthew's Friends as their patron and to help raise awareness of the Ketogenic Diet.