Mamta Reid of Tudore Tranquility: Plant-based cuisine is the future
From advocating nutrition and sustainability to treating guests like family, Reid serves up gourmet vegan cuisine that fills both body and spirit
Located in the neighborhood of Yoyogi-Uehara in Tokyo lies Tudore Tranquility, the award-winning restaurant helmed by Chef Mamta Reid, a Zambian-born and self-taught chef, who was one of the earliest pioneers of gourmet vegan dining in Japan.
For Reid, Tudore Tranquility is a sanctuary for guests to escape the hustle and bustle of the Tokyo metropolis. “It's a calm space where you can come in and enjoy a prefixed menu of creative, vegan and vegetarian dishes,” says the chef, who opened the restaurant in 2015.
The plant-based menu speaks volumes about how Reid advocates for good nutrition and overall well-being. She names her dishes as affirmations such as ‘I am warm’, ‘I am vivacious’, ‘I am awesome’, which provides guests with a sense of well-being and happiness.
“That focus on the body, not just eating for the sake of eating, and not just eating solely for taste, I would say has filtered through all my culinary life,”
At Tudore Tranquility, Mamta Reid has her culinary playground to bring this vision of wellness to life. Every dish promises to be an exploration of taste in fine dining vegan fashion. “The fascination with flavors and tastes and the different combinations is what continues to inspire me even today,” she says.
From catering to opening the restaurant: how she leads
Reid started first as a catering business for eight years but with diners asking her where they could come and dine to eat this type of food in Tokyo, the idea of starting a restaurant started percolating in her mind.
“I saw a gap in there. When I wanted to go and eat some vegan food for a special occasion, such as a birthday or anniversary, it felt like a chore to organize a dinner. And even then I would sometimes get meat in it, or some, fish or fish stock or something.
“So I saw that gap. And that coupled with clients asking me where they can come for this kind of food sparked my creativity. I felt it was time to open Tudore Tranquility.”
Reid operates her restaurant quite differently from other restaurants. For her, what’s truly important is to foster an inclusive and collaborative culture at Tudore Tranquility. For example, Reid ensures that her staff work short-hour days, taking into consideration that they do have their own lives.
“We have a model that gives our staff time to do what they enjoy. This is one of the questions I ask during the interviews; “what is it that you enjoy doing?”. I am a strong believer that if my staff are happy, then the customers will be happy. So whilst this is a food business, it is also very much a people business.
“I like to ensure that staff have time to do what they enjoy to do, and then they come and work. So it's a very collaborative, a very inclusive leadership style.”
The guest experience: treat them like family
The restaurant can accommodate eight to ten people at a time according to Reid, which allows her to provide them with a unique and intimate dining experience.
“Our guest experience starts from the time the guests make the reservation which, we take very seriously. We want to listen to our guests and we want to make sure when they come here, they have a good time. Our guest experience starts from the time they make a reservation with us."
Guests are treated like they are part of the family.
“When I'm doing staff training, I tell them to remember that these are our guests, and yet to think of them as family members, whom they haven't seen for a long time. Serve them with love. That's what it's all about.”
Sometimes Reid herself chats directly to her guests.
“Whenever I get a chance, I love to go and chat with them, about the food, about their lives. They might say something about the food as I'm talking to them which inspires me to think, maybe ‘I should think about creating this for the next time."
Sustainable goals at your plate
Aside from crafting delicious vegan dishes with a focus on nutrition, Reid is also championing sustainability at Tudore Tranquility after learning about the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals back in 2015, at the same time when she was opening Tudore Tranquility. In addition to focusing on staff welfare, the day-to-day restaurant model is also a focus.
“Plant-based cuisine is the cuisine of the future. Choosing to eat plant-based can significantly help to reduce and offset the carbon emissions generated by the meat and dairy industry. Research has been done on this. Even though we're a small restaurant, I feel we can do our part.
“In the model that we've created, we have close to zero food wastage. We also use LED light, solar lights, glass straws–the list is endless. We try to recycle as much as possible, even peels of fruit and vegetables. If we can use it, we're going to use it.”
Award-winning service; partnering with TableCheck
With a solid vegan concept that offers creative dishes that fill both body and soul coupled with great customer service, Tudore Tranquillity has been recognized by the World Luxury Restaurant Awards three times (2019, 2020, 2021) and many other award-giving bodies.
Asked how she feels about receiving this kind of acclaim, Reid says: “I am filled with gratitude when I get that recognition. And I am very grateful for the team that I work with because it just means we're all working together and this is the result. Do I do it consciously [to aim for awards]? No, not at all. My main focus is our guests and staff because, without them, Tudore Tranquility wouldn't exist.”
Reid has also partnered with TableCheck for reservations and the IVR feature which allows guests to book 24/7.
“TableCheck gives me that peace-of-mind experience which is a great tool for managing our restaurant reservations and our phone bookings. I cannot emphasize the importance of a great reservation system if you own a restaurant.
"As a chef who wants to serve my guests well, my energy has to be calm. The food is a medium and through this medium, I pass on [my guests] that energy. The only way I can do this is if I have peace of mind in terms of reservations. I have used other reservation systems, and Table Check by far supersedes my expectations in terms of ease of use, useful features, customization, and excellent customer support.
“My whole philosophy is, by the time they [guests] get to the restaurant, we better be ready to give them something special. Because there's a lot of effort that goes into somebody walking into a restaurant. We want them to feel it was worth the visit.”
Mamta Reid is also an Author, Vegan Food and Restaurant Consultant, Culinary Instructor, Recipe Developer, and Speaker. She has written two children’s books and two recipe books. She is planning to pen a third children’s book that will make children fall in love with cooking.
About the Author
Tuesday Gutierrez is TableCheck's Senior Content Manager. She believes in the power of food and the dining experience to connect and build communities. At TableCheck, she explores the inspiring world of hospitality, restaurants, and the people behind them.
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