Phil Thompson, chef and restaurateur, is the owner of THOMPSON St Albans. A well-loved and respected local figure in St Albans, he has lived in Hertfordshire since 2002. He was recently the proud winner of the St Albans Chamber of Commerce Corporate Social Responsibility award. In recognition of all his accolades and achievements in the local community as well as his charity work, including 6-year sponsorship of OA Rugby, charity dinners for OLLIE Foundation and Rennie Grove hosted at THOMPSON St Albans, which have raised in excess of £6,000, Cooking Experience auction prizes at the St Albans Chamber of Commerce and St George’s Day in aid of charities Youth Talk, Counselling Foundation, Domestic Abuse Helpline, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, The Museums Trust, raising an average of £2,750 each time.
Growing up in Dagenham, Phil’s mum, nan and uncle were all chefs, so he had a lot to live up to. His first job was washing pots in Uncle Mick’s kitchen. This culinary background gave Phil an excellent grounding in the trade, as he learned by tasting everything his Uncle Mick cooked. In the school holidays, Phil’s mum showed him how to cook when he worked for her in the kitchens at Ford Dagenham. It’s no surprise then that Phil and his sister both went on to become chefs.
With a taste for the hospitality trade, Phil left school to study catering at Thurrock Technical College (now South Essex College), completing his NVQ Levels 1 and 2. It was his two-week work experience placement while on the course that led to his first job after he qualified, at the five-star Lanesborough Hotel in London. Here he developed afternoon tea pastry skills.
Phil left the Lanesborough as a Commis Chef, promoted to Chef de Partie at The Orrery, a French fine dining restaurant run by Head Chef Chris Galvin – a tough environment which demanded teamwork and dedication. All that hard work paid off, and during Phil’s time there, the team achieved a Michelin star. When it was time to move on, Head Chef Chris Galvin put him in touch with his brother Jeff Galvin, who proved a lasting influence on Phil’s career, and helped him to secure a job at Marco Pierre White’s L’Escargot Picasso Room.
In 2002, Phil started work as a Sous Chef with Jean-Christophe Novelli, at Auberge du Lac at Brocket Hall in Welwyn, Hertfordshire. In 2004, at the age of 24, Phil was promoted to Head Chef, before becoming Executive Head Chef in 2008. Under his leadership, the team was awarded a Michelin star in January 2009, followed by 3 AA Rosettes in September 2009.
THOMPSON St Albans
In November 2013, Phil and his fiancée Marianne decided to open their own restaurant. Although the previous establishment gave him a lot to live up to, Phil followed his own vision for the new venture, offering relaxed fine dining with an innovative twist.
Awarded a third AA Rosette at the end of 2017 – the only restaurant in Hertfordshire to have this prestigious honour – THOMPSON St Albans has always held an impressive score in the Good Food Guide. We are proud to say we have won a collection of other local awards including Best Restaurant for a Special Occasion in the Herts Food & Drink Awards, Best Restaurant and Best Chef award in the Hertfordshire Life Food & Drink awards, St Albans Chamber of Commerce Best Restaurant and Corporate and Social Responsibility Award, in recognition of the money we have raised for charities, local schools and sports clubs, OA Rugby and the St Albans Under 10’s Football Club.
Phil loves to create and teach classic dishes, inspiring all the chefs in the kitchen to develop menus and cooking techniques. At heart, his approach at THOMPSON St Albans is to offer high-quality ingredients presented beautifully in each dish, carefully combining flavours while adding his own flare and modern twist. Food is sourced fresh from his father-in-law’s allotment, as well as other local suppliers. Find out more about Phil Thompson’s approach to food, by perusing the menus page.