Who is Thomas Straker? London’s most controversial chef with 2million followers

You probably just know him as the butter man from TikTok

Right now there’s a London chef who everyone is talking about: Thomas Straker. He’ll tell you he’s an accomplished chef, with his own restaurant and experience at some of London’s most prestigious venues (which he is) but most of us just know him as that bloke who went viral making butter on TikTok.

But, behind the butter and viral TikTok fame, Thomas Straker has been surrounded by a number of controversies – despite seeming to suddenly come out of nowhere only last year. His rise from his family small holding to becoming every TikTok chef boy’s go to, is something for the history books. And his fall from grace over and over again is even more interesting, too.

Thomas Straker is 33 and from Herefordshire

Now hailed as a “celebrity chef”, Thomas Straker is 33 and from Herefordshire. His book, Food You Want To Eat, gives a little more insight to his upbringing, saying Thomas was raised on his family smallholding in Herefordshire, which is where he drew his inspiration from the nature that surrounded him.

From there, “he developed a passion for hunting and foraging in the Black Mountains as well as a hands-on respect for farming. The resulting appreciation of quality products and sustainable sourcing remain the cornerstones of Tom’s work. Tom’s approach to food is honest, uncomplicated and produce-driven, using the best seasonal ingredients that are cooked with simple techniques.”

Tom has spent over 10 years working in top London restaurants such as The Dorchester and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, and is “now on a mission to bring simple, high-quality cooking into people’s homes.”

In 2022, he opened Straker’s in Notting Hill, which is now on every TikTok girly’s list of places you simply must eat in London. But note, it’s £30 for a plate of pasta.

He had a huge rise to fame from his ‘All Things Butter’ series on TikTok

Throughout 2022, Thomas Straker began to get more and more popular on TikTok. He started a series, titled “All Things Butter”, in which he literally just made butter recipes. In one, he blends up Marmite and butter, calls it “Marmite butter” and everyone lost their heads, like this wasn’t the same as just putting butter, then Marmite on your toast (the video has 6.2million views).

The series did so well he did a season one and a season two, with some of the clips getting over 10million views. Thomas Straker now has 2.3million TikTok followers and calls himself “CEO ALL THINGS BUTTER”.

He now has an actual range of butters on Ocado.

Thomas Straker went viral again after sharing a post of his team from Straker’s restaurant in Notting Hill

Thomas had his first controversy when he posted a team photo from his Straker’s restaurant. In July 2023, he shared the group picture on Instagram, captioned “chef team assembled”. The picture saw all white men, stood outside the venue. The lack of diversity was noticed by everyone, and soon he was being slammed in papers, and online.

One post said: “The main issue is that in the most diverse city in the world, in the poorest part of the richest borough of the country, not only have you managed [not] to hire any female chefs but not a single POC.”

The picture prompted a piece in The Spectator, titled: “The Real Problem With Thomas Straker”. The piece noted Straker’s has had a number of top reviews, and was in the top 100 in the National Restaurant Awards, but made a point of his response to the picture backlash.

After the photo was posted, Straker told people to “calm down”, and added that “if you feel so passionately please go and gather CVs of any chefs you think we’re missing in the team.” Another point it made is how deeply expensive the dishes at the restaurant are, too.

Now he’s in hot water again, from a piece in the Evening Standard and rumours about his personal life

The Evening Standard has this week published a piece titled “Thomas Straker: Is There Something Fishy About The Notting Hill Chef?” in which he ironically comments: “Basically my job was to create the flavours and not get cancelled.” However the piece breaks down his team photo scandal, which he has since added “wasn’t well-judged”.

He did however say all the scandal has seen his restaurant get more bookings not less, with “increased demand and the phone was ringing a bit more.” He added: “It didn’t impact business, it has impacted me personally.” He noted the person who took the photo was “a mixed race girl from Ladbroke Grove” and said: “If you put that on the other side and it was eight people of colour, and you said they looked the same — what, the… ! You would be in serious trouble.”

The Evening Standard piece also hints at rumours surrounding his personal life, which were previously published in the Daily Mail. The report claims Straker’s wife of eight years and mother of his two daughters has “kicked him out” over an alleged affair with Princess Maria Olympia of Greece.

The chef, who hasn’t commented on the claims, was apparently pictured leaving Princess Maria Olympia’s home in London which left his wife Davina “devastated”.

At the time, a source who claims to be a friend of the couple alleged a lot of their friends knew about the “affair” and Davina asked Thomas to leave the house they had recently bought together. “A lot of people knew what was going on and were asking Tom to tell Davina, but he obviously didn’t, so they did,” the source said.

“I don’t think he denied it. He is a married man with two young children and Davina deserves better than this. She asked him to leave the house in north London which they had fairly recently bought together and were doing up. This all happened before Tom was photographed with the princess. I know Davina is devastated. It is obviously not what she wanted.”

To add to the drama, Princess Maria Olympia of Greece is King Charles’ goddaughter, who was named on Tatler’s most eligible list, and is the ex of aristocrat Peregrine Pearson, who is now dating Sophie Turner. What a web!

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