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Award-winning Romford chef opens community breakfast and brunch cafe in Romford Market Place

PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 January 2020

L-R: Chef Thata Rajiv, owner Egle Jones and chef Jon Jones. Picture: Sam Bibby

L-R: Chef Thata Rajiv, owner Egle Jones and chef Jon Jones. Picture: Sam Bibby

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A Romford chef whose food has been enjoyed by the Queen and Royal family is opening a breakfast and brunch cafe in Romford’s town centre.

The breakfast and brunch cafe Burnt Toast opened in Market Place on Saturday, January 18.

Celebrity chef Jon Jones, who has appeared alongside TV presenters Paddy McGuinness and Emma Willis in a previous Marks & Spencer's Christmas advertising campaign, decided that all profits from the cafe will go back into Heart & Soul's community projects.

He said: "It would be great to put Romford on the culinary map.

"This is our baby, and for us it was important that we set up Burnt Toast in the right way.

"We believe that Romford is ready for something different.

"I believe there is a place for the traditional greasy spoon café in our high street, but people want something different now.

Romford chef Jon Jones said it is important that every egg at Burnt Toast is cooked perfectly. Picture: Sam BibbyRomford chef Jon Jones said it is important that every egg at Burnt Toast is cooked perfectly. Picture: Sam Bibby

"Our ethos at Burnt Toast is to use the best possible local ingredients to create original dishes whilst still keeping the food affordable."

Jon created Burnt Toast with his wife Egle Jones.

The owners are determined that the cafe will focus on fresh organic local ingredients with a menu that serves innovative skillet and egg dishes including eggs over slow-cooked chorizo beans or bacon parathas (a twist on a bacon wrap) with homemade chilli chutney and cream cheese.

Jon, a former Emerson Park Academy pupil, chose Leigh-on-Sea bakers, Flour and Spoon, to supply bread to the cafe.

"Our bread is baked at 4am in the morning and supplied by 8.30am so our customers can enjoy beautiful warm bread lovingly made in Essex," said Jon.

"And I cannot state how important it is that we cook every egg perfectly."

Church group KingsHeart runs Heart & Soul in Romford's town centre. Picture: Havering CouncilChurch group KingsHeart runs Heart & Soul in Romford's town centre. Picture: Havering Council

Jon, who won Best Own Label Retailer Development Chef at The Grocer own label awards 2019, has personally served canapés to the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince William, Prince Harry and Kate Middleton during the Queen's Patron Lunch in 2016 at The Mall in St James's Park.

Speaking about meeting the Queen, Jon said: "She had a fantastic handshake.

"It was an incredible privilege and a highlight of my career, for sure."

The 32-year-old has helped design the M&S food range, most recently the new plant kitchen range and a host of Christmas products.

As part of his role at M&S he has travelled to countries such as Peru, Japan and Brazil to research new food trends and traditional recipes that now grace the aisles of the food giant's supermarkets.

But the idea for Burnt Toast came from a chance meeting much closer to home while visiting Heart & Soul when Jon tried the available food and drink options.

The community breakfast and brunch cafe opened in Heart & Soul on Saturday, January 25. Picture: Sam BibbyThe community breakfast and brunch cafe opened in Heart & Soul on Saturday, January 25. Picture: Sam Bibby

Jon said: "Almost everything there was perfect, only one thing was missing - a breakfast offer.

"I started a conversation with Steve Kitchen, whose enthusiasm for the place got me fired up and that is how I got the idea that is now Burnt Toast.

"Egle and I have literally spent all day in there. We went at 12 noon and came home at 2am.

"And that's what Steve wants to create - a venue where you can spend your entire day."

Jon started his food career working at Wheeler Family Butchers in Gidea Park every Saturday before he left school.

He managed to secure work experience at the prestigious Langan's Brasserie in Mayfair, which has served the likes of Marlon Brando, Mick Jagger and Muhammad Ali.

Chef Thata Rajiv and Romford chef Jon Jones at the opening of Burnt Toast at Heart & Soul. Picture: Sam BibbyChef Thata Rajiv and Romford chef Jon Jones at the opening of Burnt Toast at Heart & Soul. Picture: Sam Bibby

After joining Waitrose cooking schools Jon worked as an innovation and development chef for M&S.

Speaking about Heart & Soul, Jon said: "The whole place has a completely different vibe to anywhere else in Romford.

"It shows you don't need to go into London for a night out, you can find something different here.

"And by visiting and eating here you are supporting great local businesses, local food and local people."

Burnt Toast is open from 10am-2pm on Saturdays and 10.30am-2.30pm on Sundays with a view to midweek openings in the future.

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