Interview with Thomas Carr

Published: Thursday 23rd Aug 2018

Written by: Katie Bessant

North Devon’s very own Michelin Star rated chef Thomas Carr talks to us about growing up in this stunning region, what inspired him to become a chef and how he enjoys his free time away from the heat of the kitchen.

You’re a born and bred Devonian, have you always lived here?

No. I lived in Cornwall for 5 years when I worked and trained with Nathan Outlaw.

What inspired you to be a chef?

I had a big family and because my parents often worked late we had to take it in turns to cook and my enjoyment grew from there.

Why did you choose Ilfracombe to open a restaurant?

It’s the perfect seafood town due to it’s location, its abundance of quality produce and the great reputation it already had as a foodie town. The opportunity to take on The Olive Room on Fore Street arose so I snapped it up!

Being awarded a Michelin star is such an achievement, how did you celebrate?  

I went out for a nice meal with my son.

Favourite TV chef and why?

Massimo Bottura. He featured on an episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix. I loved the story of one of his chefs dropping a lemon tarte on a plate by accident when there were only two left and both had been sold. Rather than do the chef thing of getting angry,  he picked up the other tarte, did exactly the same and sent them out.

If you could only cook with 3 ingredients what would they be?

Salt, pepper  and mackerel.

List your top five things about Devon…

Surfing, seafood, the landscape, the people and amazing local produce.

Describe a perfect day off in Devon…  

A surf at Lynmouth and then dinner on Barricane beach in Woolacombe with my son, Ben.

Which season do you think Devon is at its best and why?

I love Autumn for the colours you get with the season changing. Also, the sea is colder which I think produces nicer fish.

Last but by no means least, what’s your best-kept Devon secret (if you are  happy to share it with us!)?

Siam Bistro  in Braunton which is a fantastic little  Thai place.


Thomas Carr at The Olive Room is a simple, homely restaurant serving the very best in local ingredients with ultra-fresh seafood a focus - making the most of the seasonal ingredients.

The Olive Room, 56 Fore Street, Ilfracombe EX34 9DJ 01271 867831

Situated only a short walk from Thomas’ Michelin-starred Olive Room restaurant is the Seafood and Grill.

Seafood and Grill, 59 High Street, Ilfracombe EX34 9QB 01271 555005

Katie Bessant



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