Tom Kerridge, Hand and Flowers

The Staff Canteen
Angela Malik - Great British Menu chefs 2017
Tom Kerridge

Tom Kerridge discusses his role as a Chef at The Hand and Flowers and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Tom Kerridge 

Place of work: The Hand and Flowers

Role: Chef patron/owner

Bio: Tom Kerridge is Chef patron of The Hand and Flowers in Marlow, the world’s first ever two Michelin star pub. Originally from the West Country, his early career started in country house hotels and restaurants in Gloucestershire. He moved to London in his early twenties, where he worked with well-known Chefs such as Philip Britton, Steven Bull and Gary Rhodes.

Follow Tom on Twitter here: @ChefTomKerridge

Chef Skills

Tom Kerridge takes us through his personal experiences whilst being in the Culinary Industry. These key skills that young Chefs and industry professionals learn as part of their basic training.

What experience and many years in your opinion would someone need to progress to the top level of the industry?

For me, the strength of a CV and time spent learning to a Chef is very different from learning the food from restaurant to restaurant. If you were to break a career down over ten years, a Chef that has worked in four restaurants for two and a half years in each one, will have much more of a solid understanding of how to be a great cook, than a Chef who has done ten years, ten different restaurants but has just ‘magpied’ loads of different dishes.

The ethos and feeling of being a Chef give's you a much stronger chance of reaching the top rather than just having a recipe book of stolen ideas.

Tom Kerridge Fish and Chips

What are your ultimate top five tips for someone looking to start a career in the industry?

You must never consider yourself above any job, whether it is sweeping the floor,  unblocking the toilet, cleaning the carpark or clearing glasses, work ethic is key. You must have a full understanding that it is a hand on, personal and customer driven industry. The ability to interact with people is vital, not just customers, but being able to communicate with staff, both above and below you.

Never stop learning or wanting to learn, pick up a cookbook, an industry magazine, get out and eat in as many places as possible and remember as much as you can. Lastly, it is going to be the hardest thing you have ever done, and it will be way harder than you can ever believe it will be, but don’t worry, if you enjoy every minute of it, even the pain, blood,  sweat and tears, you will get there.

Who are the key Chefs and restaurants that someone should be speaking to and trying to gain experience with?

At top end level, the Chefs that you should be looking at working with, not to steal their recipes, but to be enthused by, excited about being in their presence and hoping that some of their magic, drive and charisma will rub off on you, are: Heston Blumenthal, Sat Bains, Claude Bosi, Daniel Clifford, Nathan Outlaw, Simon Rogan, Brett Graham, Andrew Fairlie, to name but a few. The list could go on and on. Get out there, go and find them, and go and enjoy your time there.

What are you looking out for on a CV or in an interview if someone was applying to work with you?

You could have the best reading CV in the world, which will secure you a trial in many top restaurants, including mine, but first and foremost, the one thing that I look for is enthusiasm and a work ethic.

Some of the greatest Chefs that have come through my kitchen that have gone onto fabulous things, and some that are still with you, had never worked in a Michelin star environment in their lives. One Chef, in particular, worked at a giant superstore, probing overcooked sausages that they come to 80 degrees centigrade before he joined us. He was one of the greatest young Chefs with a phenomenal talent and stayed with us for over 5 years.

Experience is nothing unless it is backed up with enthusiasm and work ethic.

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Editor 25th May 2017

Tom Kerridge, Hand and Flowers