2021 Welcomes Tom Sarafian!

Tom grew up in a family where food is a religion and mealtimes are a sacred ceremony. His mother is a gardener and his father and grandfather are both chefs and if the Sarafian family aren’t planting, growing, cooking or eating food, they’re talking about food. 

While Tom has really been training as a chef since birth, he started his formal apprenticeship at Melbourne’s famous Stokehouse Restaurant in 2005. In 2008, he discovered Greg Malouf’s cookbooks and was thrilled to see the traditional cuisine of his Armenian-Egyptian grandparents being presented with such modern finesse. Tom went to work alongside Greg at the legendary MoMo, pursuing his passion for middle eastern cooking. 

From there, Tom moved to London to work at the Michelin Star restaurant Petersham Nurseries Cafe and then Fergus Henderson’s world-renowned St John restaurant. 

At St John, Tom had the privilege of cooking for some of London’s biggest culinary names, including Nigella Lawson and Anthony Bourdain. He then explored Levantine and Spanish cuisines working at the iconic Moro with Sam and Samantha Clark. 

Tom came home to Melbourne via a four month research trip through Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Lebanon and Armenia, he applied this new knowledge to his first head chef role at Joseph Abboud’s  East Brunswick favourite, Rumi. 

After running Rumi for three years Tom opened Bar Saracen in the Melbourne CBD with Joseph in 2018 to critical acclaim. Bar Saracen was number one in the Herald Sun’s Delicious 100 awards ‘people’s choice’ category in 2018 – a remarkable feat in its first year – and number five in 2019. Tom continues to cook the city’s favourite middle eastern food, combining traditional techniques and recipes with innovative touches and beautiful local produce.