MY CLUB • August 2019
The West Country chef behind the UK’s only two-Michelin-star pub, Tom Kerridge is known for the kind of hearty cooking that helped plant British cuisine on the map. It’s no wonder, then, that the proud Brit made the Modern Britons BA100 list, creating a one-off, in-flight menu for the airline’s centenary. No stranger to an epicurean adventure, Tom sits down to tell us more
Which country most sticks out in your memory?
Singapore (pictured below) – a wonderful eclectic city with such an exciting food scene, everything from phenomenal street fare in the Geylang District to top-end restaurants near the bay. I had one of my most memorable meals there with a load of chefs, in a back alley at 3am after service, sat on plastic chairs eating mind-blowing fried aubergines with chilli. The sheer authenticity of it was amazing.
Where are your favourite places in the UK?
I’m a huge fan of Cornwall (pictured top of page). It’s beautiful. I have many childhood memories of little fishing ports, the stunning coastline… Nowadays, Paul Ainsworth at No 6 in Padstow is my favourite haunt down there – a truly great restaurant.
Where is your favourite London hangout?
My son was born in London and it’s a massively exciting place for kids. He loves the London Eye and the dinosaur skeletons at the Natural History Museum. There’s so much on offer, particularly around the South Bank. London’s only downside? No one ever smiles on the Tube!
Ritual and skill: Tom admires the complex simplicity behind Japanese cooking
Where is on your bucket list and why?
I would love to visit Japan. Their ritualistic respect for food is really special; the cooking displays a huge drive for simplicity and perfection. I’d definitely need a guide, though – I can’t speak any Japanese and I have a shellfish allergy, but I’m sure Japan would be worth the risk.
Do you have any rituals about the way you travel?
I’d love to say I’m an organised traveller, but the truth is I always take too many things. The best travel tip I can give you is never to let me do your packing, because you’ll take everything you don’t need.
How does it feel to be selected as one of BA’s top 100 Brits?
I’m hugely proud of being a part of the BA100. British Airways is one of the most recognised brands in the world, and for me ticks all the boxes of quality, trust and that little something that feels inherently British. I think our values are very much in sync.
What does being British mean to you?
I’m very proud to be British. There’s a real craftsmanship and robust honesty to the things we create here. From Rolls-Royce to Bentley, oak wood to leather crafting, beer brewing to British farming – we’re honest and hardy about the way we get things done.
What is your favourite British dish?
Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding (pictured below) is up there, so is a good steamed pudding. But you can’t beat proper fish and chips – on a beach. Even in winter there’s something so quintessentially British about it.
What are your top three British ingredients?
We’re very good at root vegetables. They come into their own in autumn, the season that matches up most with my cooking style. Then, any form of well-looked-after, grass-fed British beef. Our beef is some of the best in the world. Lastly, Coleman’s English Mustard – super-hot, spicy, delicious.
Where do you think has the most exciting food scene right now?
Scandinavia is very exciting; Stockholm in particular has phenomenal restaurants. The UK and Scandinavia have a lot in common, but everything there is more extreme, including the food. There’s lot more in the way of smoking, curing and pickling, and I love those deep, earthy flavours.
Take stock: Stockholm’s thriving food scene has Tom impressed
What have been the biggest considerations behind your centenary menu?
The difference between serving food in a restaurant and on an aircraft is massive – there are so many considerations. The small onboard catering crew and the regeneration/reheating process, plus the lack of chefs up there, all come into play. There’s a lot to work out beforehand, especially the seasoning, because taste buds are duller at 35,000ft. Am I confident it’ll taste amazing? One hundred per cent.