Since the launch of his Marlow gastropub in 2005, Tom Kerridge’s local, seasonal approach has altered our culinary landscape. Charlotte Hogarth-Jones talks to the two Michelin-starred chef about his bold new venture and the feast he hosted at Goodwood
“There's no such thing as a ‘lesser’ cut of meat any more,” says Tom Kerridge, the great British chef who rocketed to fame when his hearty, no-nonsense gastropub in Marlow, The Hand and Flowers, became the first pub ever to gain two Michelin stars back in 2012. Kerridge proved to critics that fine dining didn’t have to mean fussy, and his warm, welcoming style changed the culinary landscape of Britain.
Today, he’s a man with fingers in numerous pies. He regularly appears on the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, and Great British Menu, while presenting two of his own BBC series – Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food and Spring Kitchen with Tom Kerridge. What’s more, unlike a number of high-profile British chefs, he spends plenty of time in his own kitchen too.
“Some pieces of meat need more attention to get the best out of them, but it’s important to use the whole animal,” he says. “The team at Goodwood absolutely celebrate that; it’s lovely to be working with people who have the same ethos, the same heart and soul.”
Kerridge already comes up to Goodwood regularly, as his wife, the sculptor Beth Cullen Kerridge, often exhibits at the neighbouring CASS Sculpture Foundation. Collaborating with Goodwood isn’t just about business, he explains, it’s also about a shared passion for great food and a mutual appreciation for good-quality ingredients cooked beautifully.
In fact, that’s exactly what will be appearing on the tables at the special dinner Kerridge is hosting at Goodwood with chef Darron Bunn this winter – a feast that pays tribute to the Estate’s world-class produce. The pair are developing recipes for the menu now. “We’re trying to build from dessert backwards,” says Kerridge, “because we want every dish to be connected with the animal somehow. Maybe we’ll do a suet pudding or a Gloucester lardy cake.”
There’s far more to Kerridge’s unique style of cooking, though, than simply serving up big platters of meat. His dishes often combine classic cookery techniques with a contemporary twist – think loin of Cotswold venison with black pudding, salt-baked carrot, keema pie and lime pickle, or a delicate lovage soup with Bramley apple, smoked eel, and ham-andcheese tortellini. At a time when every customer has a dietary requirement of some kind, you have to be flexible to thrive as a restaurateur, Kerridge explains: “It’s part and parcel of being in the industry today.”
He himself famously lost 12 stone by cutting back on alcohol and carbohydrates. So does he really think red meat can be part of a weight-loss plan? “Absolutely,” he insists, “whether you’re doing low fat or low calorie or low carbohydrate – the important thing is, you stick to one diet, and don’t mix them.”
Building on the success of The Hand and Flowers, Kerridge is now opening a bold new venture in Marlow – a high-street butchers and delicatessen, and an oldschool country pub, collectively named The Butcher’s Tap. “I’m not necessarily trying to push meat,” he explains. “This is much more about reviving the great British high street – somewhere you’d find an excellent greengrocers, bakers, fishmongers and, of course, a butchers, as well as a pub that you can just walk into whatever you’re wearing, and nobody gives a toss.”
Does he feel nervous going into retail for the first time? “I would, because I’m no expert, but my butcher Andy Cook knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s a third generation butcher who’s been in the trade for over 30 years. In fact, he’s pretty much ancient,” he laughs. “With his experience, it’s like he’s been a butcher since before the Roman Empire!”
It’s been a thrill for Kerridge to cut out the middle man for a change, to go directly to suppliers and producers and to source outstanding produce directly – from great British charcuterie to Copas Turkeys just in time for Christmas. “We’re just one small butchers, so sadly we don’t have the buying power of a major supermarket,” Kerridge explains, “but more and more people understand that good food isn’t cheap, and that provenance is important. OK, so you could buy four chicken breasts all clingfilmed up and have no idea where they’ve come from, but we can tell you the region, the farmer, maybe even the chicken’s name.”
Of course, the produce will be the backbone of the pub too, with honest pub classics and Sunday roasts on 'I'm not necessarily trying to push meat. This is more about reviving the great British high street' the menu, plus tasty snacks – hot pork pies straight from the oven, sausage rolls, scotch eggs, hotdogs. In short, anything you can eat with one hand while competing in the pub quiz, taking part in the weekly raffle or watching the footie.
Naturally, plans are afoot for some of Goodwood’s finest items to make their way on to the shelves, but Kerridge has ulterior motives for visiting Chichester. “I massively love cars,” he says. “We went to Revival for my sister-in-law’s 40th birthday and I loved it. I dressed up, of course I did! At first you think, ‘What am I dressing up for?’ But if you don’t, you feel more out of place.”
A Porsche 911 owner, next year he’s heading to the Singapore Grand Prix with his car-mad one-year-old son, Acey. “The little man is totally obsessed,” he gushes, “he’s not even two and he watches Formula 1 over cartoons, which is great. I can’t wait for Festival of Speed.” A first-rate chef whose second great love is motor racing? It’s hard to think of anyone more fitting to cook for Goodwood’s guests.
This article is taken from the Goodwood magazine, Winter 2017 issue