Why a gastropub (or two) and not a conventional restaurant?
I’m much more suited to a pub environment and I think it somewhere that is inherently British and that most people see as a great place to be.
The Hand and Flowers has two Michelin stars, is this a blessing or a curse?
It’s one of the most fantastic and wonderful achievements that a chef can achieve. Something I’m so proud that the team and I have been a part of and it’s an absolute privilege to have.
What is your definition of a 'good' meal?
Somewhere where the food is cared for, that is it, full stop. It doesn’t have to be smart, it can be a simple Cornish Pasty from a bakery in Cornwall, a slow cooked piece of meat on a wood burning oven, or a 2 Michelin star meal. As long as the food is cared for and looked after, they are all equal.
What was your most memorable meal ever?
Too many to mention, for lots of different reasons, but I had an incredible meal at Chef’s Table Brooklyn Fayre, New York, but also world class cuisine cooked in a back alley in downtown Singapore with some chef friends and a notable restaurateur at 3.00am surrounded by ‘people of the night’.
Food creates memories. Is there a dish that instantly evokes a favourite travel experience or destination?
Homeward, its on these shores, the idea of having fish and chips sat on a pebble beach or the harbour side in Padstow evoked wonderful childhood and adult memories, so if you ever have fish and chips anywhere else, it always reminds you of the sea.
Which countries and which cuisines are you most influenced by?
Hugely influenced by French technique and the way that they use stocks, sauces and dairy produce
What does 'luxury ' (in relation to travel) mean to you?
The ability to fly business class I find to be a huge luxury, and if you do have the ability to fly business, you should consider yourself to be very lucky and it helps the journey start as a joyous thing rather than feel a little like herded cattle.
When travelling, is there a 'comfort food' dish which reminds you of home?
Not really, I’m happy to try all cuisines, but I suppose if you find a bit of cheddar somewhere, that will always remind me of the West Country.
Apart from your own, what are some of your favourite gastropubs?
The Sportsman, Seasalter, Kent, is an incredible, fantastic place. The Hind’s Head in Bray, beautiful food. And Andrew Pern’s Starr Inn encompasses everything that is great about British and Yorkshire food.
Other chefs that inspire you?
Sat Bains, Daniel Clifford, Claude Bosi, Heston Blummenthal, Brett Graham, Nathan Outlaw. But then also, guys like Neil Rankin who is cooking wonderful pieces of meat cooked on a smoker, or Rick Stein for his business drive and making the sea food restaurant possibly one of the finest British brassieres ever.
Name your three favourite hotels?
I’m a big fan of the Soho House group, stays there are always quirky and fun but of a really high standard. I had a wonderful stay at Lucknum Park with its beautiful spa, and Gleneagles is undoubtedly one of the finest places to stay in the world.
The cruise liner is about to sink, which three ingredients do you take to the desert island?
Dairy products! Pork, and grapes. I do like grapes!
Where to next?
Much of the same, consistency is key.
Luxury Link: www.tomkerridge.com