Tommy Banks: Who is the Yorkshire Michelin Star head chef who owns The Black Swan in York?

Tommy Banks was born in Oldstead where he was raised by a family of farmers who also ran a B&B.

Tommy Banks in the kitchen of The Black Swan restaurant. (Pic credit: Gary Longbottom)

Cooking wasn’t always Mr Banks’ passion, as his ambition was to become a professional cricket player when he was younger.

Tommy Banks currently runs the restaurant Roots in York City Centre.

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Read on to find out more about one of Yorkshire’s most exciting and successful chefs.

Who is Tommy Banks?

Tommy Banks grew up with his older brother, James, and parents, Tom and Anne Banks.

The Banks family have been farming for five generations and ran their own B&B business from their family home before they bought their local pub The Black Swan in 2006.

Mr Banks left school during his A-Levels to pursue cricket six days a week alongside working for his family’s business.

When he was just 18 years old, he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and had three serious surgeries. As a result he was bedridden for 18 months. During his time recovering, he began reading a lot of cookbooks and watching cookery TV shows which sparked a new passion for food.

He started working in the kitchen of his family’s pub, The Black Swan, and while he had no formal training as a chef, he worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants - unpaid.

The Black Swan won its first Michelin Star in 2012 when Adam Jackson was the head chef.

Mr Banks replaced him as head chef when he left and when he was just 24 years old, he became the youngest chef to receive a Michelin Star when the restaurant earned its Michelin Star that year.

Mr Banks’ first cookbook ‘Roots’ was published on April 5, 2018, by The Orion Publishing Group and it won the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in the Chef category in the same year.

He appeared in the show Great British Menu in 2016 and again in 2017. Mr Banks was also the co-host of The Big Family Cooking Showdown with Angelica Bell in 2018.

He is also a regular guest chef on Saturday Kitchen and Sunday Brunch.