Digging for Victory: an interview with Tommy Banks (Oryx Magazine)

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Food, Writing

It’s all down to Yorkshire grit and home-grown inspiration for Tommy Banks’s family-run Black Swan in the middle of Britain – recently named the world’s best restaurant by TripAdvisor. Words Victoria Stewart Photography Kat Green

When Tommy Banks was asked about the best dish he’d eaten in 2017, the interviewer didn’t approve when the chef picked one of his own. “I eventually said something from the restaurant Fäviken in Sweden instead. But our oxtail! Wow,” he gasps, recalling a recent feast he created. “The fat smelt so nice, and we made this buttery mash and literally inhaled it. Epic!”

Spending time with Banks is fun. A fortnight after his family’s restaurant, the Black Swan in Oldstead, Yorkshire, in the UK, was voted best in the world by reviews website TripAdvisor, there’s plenty he’ll say about his place of work. ere’s also unendingly friendly chatter about his pottery xation, or cricket – “I am dead keen on it, always watching it” – and jokes about emojis.

The win hit the headlines, he believes, “because we’re stuck out here – New York wouldn’t have been as surprising,” but much is down to the originality of the cooking, which comes from Banks’s commitment to living o the land.

Click here to read the full story on p.30 of Oryx Magazine, published in December 2017.