Hong Kong

British Chef Tobyn Excell, who spent a decade working in some of London’s best restaurants including Le Gavroche, St John’s, La Trompette, The Drapers Arms, The Greenhouse, set to wow Hong Kong diners at the next TEST KITCHEN with his unique, visionary and profoundly connected cuisine.

His distinctive cuisine integrates forgotten wild plants and bridges the expanding gap between nature and food with bold flavours and refreshing innovation. He left London to learn more about his native terroir, before then working at the famed Nordic Food Labin Copenhagen and with Miles Irving at Forager in the UK.

Founder of Test Kitchen, Vincent Mui explains: “This is a fascinating pop-up with one of the most connected and forward-thinking chefs in the UK.  Tobyn discovers both ancient and new flavours and techniques and uses them to explore the land around him through taste. His beautifully-crafted menu shows the potential of wild food with local British and Hong Kong ingredient sitting side by side.

Here’s our prototype menu starting us with a Negroni with Rowan Berries:

Rowan berry Negroni – the distinct bitter flavour of Campari

Asian herb cracker, ramson fruits and Kentish damson umezu

Napa cabbage “summer roll”, elderberries and tea

Langoustine in rosehip miso

Squid broth, sour fruits, coriander

Sea nails, garlic, parsley, meadowsweet cream

Country rye bread soup, bonito and apple

Wagyu beef tongue, pickled roses, konbu butterscotch

Beeswax pudding, honeycomb, sweet woodruff ice and pickled elderflowers

Apple crumble: Dried apple crisp, Apple and brown butter jam, Brown butter and yeast crumble

About our chef:

With an innate curiosity and concerned by industrial food production’s impact on our environment, Tobyn Excell has been driven to ask deeper questions about our cultural relationships with nature through food. He seeks to discover how communities traditionally lived in sustainable symbiosis with their local ecosystem, by studying its biodiversity and its cultural history.

Chef Tobyn Excell shares his story and what shapes his style of cuisine, “My food is an expression of the landscape, of its nature and its history.  My family has lived in this place for many generations. It excites me to feel I am creating something new, while at the same time reaching back through history to connect with my ancestors at their dinner table.  This is my inspiration…

…My cooking begins with going into nature and finding the ingredients there. I study the wild environment around me, and learn how the local community traditionally lived and worked within it. I forage for wild plants, forgotten and unknown ingredients that are indigenous to my terroir, explore fermentation and preservation, making the inedible delicious. The flavours I find in the wild can be as delicious and exotic to me as any found around the world, therefore I use only these ingredients. instead of importing vanilla from Madagascar and coconuts from India, I pick Meadowsweet flowers and chamomile leaves form the fields and hedgerows.  

The ingredients in my food may be unfamiliar, but the dishes are inspired by tradition and aim for simplicity. I offer a menu that both honors my heritage and seeks innovation.”

Recently Tobyn has been exhibiting his perspective with talks and demonstrations at the latest Commis Made in Gdansk, Poland with Metamorfoza, residencies at Carousel in London, and Istanbul’s Neolokal. This summer he will be in residence at I Like Wine in Moscow, Russia.

Tobyn is currently establishing Sæl, a farm-based restaurant, research and education Project in Kent, England that will explore sustainable practices in sustenance farming, examine the future of our food culture, and will seek to revive a living connection with land through food.