An Evening with Tom Kerridge….Thug №1

Tonight The Bucks Insider (yes, talking about oneself in the third person!) joined 300 guests for An Evening with Tom Kerridge hosted by Chorleywood Bookshop.

During a relaxed discussion with Janet Stewart from the Gerrards Cross store, the affable Tom revealed such gems as his interest in cooking sparked during his childhood by cooking tea for his little brother…“fishfingers that were black on one side and raw on the other” and his love of a career that focuses on producing something tangible.

After leaving school, Tom flirted briefly with an acting career that he fell into after his mum tired of him skiving off school to “set fire to trees and drink cider in the park with his mates”. Tom laughed about clocking up two roles as the school bully and a Miss Marple cameo as “Thug №1”.

Tom described his love for the intensity of the kitchen environment, where everything you do, you do with intensity…. including hitting the pub just before closing, and sleep, in your few hours at home! Tom confessed to staying a bit too long in one of his earliest jobs based next door to London’s infamous Stringfellows, as one of the perks was a cheeky cigarette out the back with the scantily clad ladies from next door. Perhaps now that Peter Stringfellows is a Gerrards Cross local, we can grill him on his memories of a youthful Tom.

Tom shared his admiration for culinary doyen Rick Stein, whose enthusiasm and innovative take on fish continues to remain fresh and inspiring. Tom continues to work extremely hard on maintaining his Michelin status as an everyday challenge, but shared by the top people working with him, many of whom have been by Tom’s side for over 10 years.

Tom’s focus on making people comfortable in a fine dining environment has borne fruit in his local offerings The Hand and Flowers, The Coach and The Shed, and he now employs around 100 staff in Marlow. Tom attempts to always be thinking 18 months ahead and has reinvented himself throughout his career, where he has taken on such challenges as setting up his own production company, even though he can’t bear watching himself as a “fat, bald bloke on the telly” whilst continuing to drive dishes and the menu forward in his much-lauded establishments.

Tom is bucking the trend of some of his contemporaries and has no plans to open abroad, and instead is excited about his new restaurant opening in Knightsbridge, planning to launch in August, with a similarly “accessible fine dining” vibe….if the builders can get it done on time! The materials alone are gonna cost ya…mate.

In May 2017, Tom will be hosting Pub In the Park in Marlow, a celebration of “Gourmet Food, Cracking Music and Lush Vibes” including local beers, bands, great restaurants and an all important sausage roll competition! Roll on May….*groan.

With a laugh Tom revealed that not once has he made chicken stock in his own house, and he developed “Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet”, after at least once Googling “the beer diet” and coming up empty. Tom emphasizes that his book is first and foremost a cookery book, not a diet book, where you could cook all the recipes for friends or a dinner party and they would be none the wiser….we’re a big fan of that!

But our best takeaway from the evening? Pork scratchings are allowed!