Back in November I attended ‘An audience with Tom Kerridge’ which was hosted by Scannappeal, which Tom is a patron of; an amazing worthwhile charity which raises funds to purchase lifesaving equipment for Amersham, Stoke Mandeville, Wycombe and surrounding community hospitals.  

Tom is a huge supporter of many charities and Scannappeal is a local one to where he has his pubs and restaurants, in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

Amanda Afiya was in charge of proceedings on the night. Amanda herself is a leading figure on all things hospitality and ex-editor of The Caterer magazine. Amanda was responsible for interviewing Tom, or at least trying as it appears that once Tom starts speaking it’s difficult to stop him! Which was great actually for us in the audience as it gave us incredible insight into his life.

The turning point for The Hand and Flowers was when Tom appeared on the BBC’s Great British Menu programme in 2010, going on to win the main course dish with his slow-cooked Aylesbury duck with duck fat chips and gravy. He then won it again in 2011, making him the first ever chef on Great British Menu to cook the main course twice.

That same year he won his first Michelin star and in 2012 he was awarded a second - the first pub ever to be awarded this accolade - the rest as they say is history! Tom has since appeared on many TV shows and written a number of successful books.

After charting his chef career, we were further awestruck with his amazing personal transformation story. Tom has lost an incredible 11 stone, that’s a whole person!

There are many clichés about turning 40 but for Tom it really was a point of reflection - The Hand and Flowers was doing well, as was his TV career and book sales – but he asked himself ‘where do I want to be in the next 40 years?’ and getting to grips with his ‘beer diet’ and losing weight was a priority – and with that he gave up the booze and changed his lifestyle – he now hasn’t had a drink for four and a half years! He went on to say that he doesn’t trust himself to drink again yet - for him when he was drinking, there was no such thing as half a pint as the point of drinking was to drink!

Life is very different now, he and his wife Beth have a ‘little man’ to think about, he spends three two hour sessions in the gym a week and has just opened this third establishment in Marlow – The Butchers Tap – a butchers by day, a pub by night.

You’ll be pleased to know though, he is not without his vices - caffeine and swearing…!

So what next for Mr Kerridge? Well he has a new book out and a TV show which is about making low calorie food taste good. He says that the worst thing about dieting is feeling hungry, diet food has to be tasty too.

He also continues to support many charities including Scannappeal, Children in Need, Hospitality in Action and many other local charities and community events.

And as the evening was drawing to a close the floor was opened to the audience to ask questions from which we learnt that…

- His food heaven is slow-cooked shoulder of lamb

- Food hell – ofal - oh and shellfish (he’s allergic to them!)

- His favourite ingredient to work with – butter and salt – and dairy, Tom is a big fan of dairy full stop

- Getting a work life balance is difficult; he like many others, live with daily parent guilt so they ring fence a day a week to spend together

- Someone asked about how many knives we should have in the kitchen? Tom said three – pairing, serrated and a cooks knife – and then make sure they fit your hand and sharpen them every time you use them

- And finally when asked if there was one person you’d like to cook for you and who would it be – the answer Marco Pierre White

So thank you Scannappeal for an amazing evening, Tom Kerridge was an amazing guest. 

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