Tom Kerridge talks about The Coach

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th November 2014
After the success of The Hand & Flowers, Tom Kerridge is opening a new pub in Marlow. The Coach is set to be less formal than its two Michelin star sibling, offering good affordable food in a traditional English setting. The Staff Canteen spoke to Tom about the opening.tomk_0036 Tom has received numerous accolades for his work at The Hand & Flowers. The Coach intends to build on this success and continue to offer a modern day pub experience. With Tom and his head chef, Aaron Mulliss, helping menu development, it is his current senior sous chef, Nick Beardshaw who will be leading the kitchen at The Coach. Tom said: “It’s because of the team. Opening The Coach is an organic development of the people around us. Aaron Mullis, the head chef here, has been with us for seven years and Nick Beardshaw, who’s going to be head chef of The Coach, has been here for four and a half years.” “The Hand & Flowers has always been about investing in people. Our business is 100% personality based and there are people who’ve been with us for a long time, it just seems like a natural progression of the space that we’re in.” “Key staff from The Hand & Flowers will be moving into new roles at The Coach. It’s an extension of the team ethic we’ve got here. People being happy in the work place has been a key part of our success and this is a chance for them to continue to be happy and grow. Their personal development is hugely important to us.” Nick BeardshawBoth Tom and Nick believe great pub food to be classic dishes done well. It is this belief that has taken Nick to some of the world’s most revered classical kitchens as part of the process of creating the menu at The Coach. “It’s non-bookable. There’s an L-shaped bar in a very small pub setting. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on a first come, first served basis. There’s no real structure to the menu, it’ll have 25-30 dishes and it’s very flexible.” With capacity for 40 people and offering a no booking policy, The Coach follows an eclectic design that mixes modern and classical perfectly. Orders will be taken and served by all members of the team: barman, waitress or chef. There’ll also be SKY TV screens: muted versions will be dotted around the room meaning a trip to The Coach doesn’t mean sacrificing the Wimbledon final or a Premier League match. Tom is aware of how much today’s pubs are struggling and has used that knowledge as inspiration when opening The Coach: “We’re very conscious of why some pubs are really struggling. Some of it’s to do with supermarkets serving cheap alcohol, the profit-margin on beer is smaller and people’s drinking habits have changed. Microbreweries are doing really well and artisan beers are getting more and more popular. Quality-led pubs, places that are food-based or serve interesting beer, are the places doing well. People are going out and really enjoying themselves drinking two pints of really good ale rather than going out to drink eight pints of cheap lager. People are looking more and more for quality rather than quantity. We’re aiming to appeal to that change with The Coach.” Tom-KerridgeTom will be a hands-on presence at The Coach, just as he is at The Hand & Flowers. The Coach has taken up a lot of time and effort and Tom has not allowed his TV commitments to get in the way: “It’s taken ten years to get to this point. My staff believe in me and I believe in my staff so we all work together on that. I like to be hands on and try to be here six or seven days a week, even with all the TV work. Even if it’s just being a presence in the building, it makes a big difference,” Tom said. “We’ve just finished filming ‘food & drink’ which will be shown in the New Year. After that, there’s nothing planned, we’re concentrating on opening The Coach and getting it to the level we want it to be at.” The Coach will officially open on Monday December 1st and is just a stone’s throw away from The Hand & Flowers. It is set to reflect everything Tom believes a modern day high street pub should be: flexible, sociable, affordable and a place to both eat and drink. By Tom Evans @tevans43

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th November 2014

Tom Kerridge talks about The Coach