Born in 1973 in the West Country Tom Kerridge started out as a child actor with several small parts in a variety of different shows. He went on to attend a culinary school at the age of 18 before moving around Gloucestershire and a series of restaurants and country house hotels. During his early 20s he left Gloucestershire and moved to London to work for chefs including Gary Rhodes, Steven Bull and Phillip Britton. After a number of years he moved to Norwich to take up the position of head chef at Michelin starred Adlards.
Beth Kerridge is an English sculptor born in 1970. Six weeks after meeting Tom she proposed to him, a question that would have an answer before the end of the sentence. In 2005, she moved from Norfolk to Marlow to open The Hand & Flowers, something they were able to do using the money from a commission Beth had received.
The original plan was to create a space that reflected somewhere both Tom and Beth would like to go during their days off. Just a year after opening, the pub got its first Michelin Star. Six years later, it became the first pub to be awarded a prestigious second star. You can read about my visit to The Hand and Flowers by clicking on the following link:
With The Hand and Flowers ever growing popularity and bookings being taken three months in advance, it was no longer easy for the locals to nip in for a quick pint. Cue the opening of The Coach. Situated at the other end of the street to The Hand and Flowers, The Coach has an informal, relaxed atmosphere and unlike its sister pub has a strict first come first served policy with no bookings being taken. In 2016 it was the Top 50 Gastropubs Awards highest new entry coming in at number four. The quality of the food rivals that of some of the best restaurants, this being backed up by a Bib Gormand being awarded in the 2017 Michelin Guide.
Over his career, Tom has made appearances on various programmes including Saturday Kitchen and The Great British Menu where, in 2010, his slow cooked Aylesbury duck with duck fat chips and gravy was one of the four winning finalists. He has also hosted his own cooking shows such as Spring Kitchen and Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food.
Just before Christmas 2016 Tom and Beth were overjoyed with the arrival of their first child Acey, a name that is Anglo Saxon for number one.
Over the past three years Tom has lost 11 stone through using a dopamine diet. He has since released a book that reveals his personal experiences and also his go-to recipes to aid his weight loss. As part of his diet Tom went teetotal to help him reach his ultimate goal.
I openly admit that I’m a huge fan of Tom Kerridge. The Hand and Flowers is exactly the kind of place I’d love to eat every single day and thankfully, despite his recent (and rather dramatic) lifestyle change, the food he serves up, remains just like the Tom of old – big, bold and in all honesty, bloody brilliant.