A look back on Tom Kerridge’s hospitality career

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

In-depth experience: Tom Kerridge has been in the hospitality trade for more than three decades
In-depth experience: Tom Kerridge has been in the hospitality trade for more than three decades

Related tags Chef Gastropub Food

While celebrity chef and pub operator Tom Kerridge has been in the hospitality trade for more than 30 years, we’ve looked at his career over the past decade or so and what he’s achieved in that time as well as some words from the man himself on how he has found his time in the sector.

The double Michelin-starred the Hand & Flowers was crowned the top gastropub in 2012, rising from second place on the 2011 list.

It scored its first Michelin star in 2006 and second in 2011 while Kerridge told guests and fellow finalists it was an honour to be named best gastropub in Britain at the Top 50 Gastropub Awards.

In 2014, the chef opened the Coach in Marlow​, Buckinghamshire where head chef Nick Beardshaw led the kitchen.

The same year saw the Hand & Flowers named the UK’s Gastropub of the Year for the third successive time​ however, the pub was knocked from its top spot on the 2013 list of the 100 best restaurants, moving to fourth place.

In the 12 months that following, 2017 saw Kerridge announce plans to open his third gastropub in the town​ – the Butcher’s Tap, which combines a butcher’s a public house into one.

The following year saw Kerridge’s portfolio expand again with the opening of his first restaurant in the capital​.

Kerridge’s Bar & Grill at the Corinthia Hotel London in Westminster aimed to be a relaxed British brasserie-style dining room, taking inspiration from its sister venues in Marlow.

2018 was a busy year for the chef-owner as he also launched a catering and events business​, offering private dinner parties, gallery openings, large-scale family celebrations, corporate events, street-food festivals and everything in between.

Lush By Tom Kerridge draws inspiration from the restaurants in the estate and looked to give a world-class level of hospitality.

Furthermore, the same year also saw Kerridge named the nation’s favourite pub chef​, based on cookbook sales over the previous two decades.

Favourite chef

Where are Tom Kerridge’s venues?

Kerridge’s Fish & Chips at Harrods, London

The Butcher’s Tap and Grill, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

The Coach, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

The Hand & Flowers, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, Corinthia Hotel, London

While Jamie Oliver topped the list of favourite chefs, Kerridge was the highest placing pub chef at number 11 with four books in best sellers, four years on best sellers and an average chart rank of 29.

The following year saw the news of a new opening in Manchester​. The Bull & Bear was in the city’s Stock Exchange Hotel however in 2022, it was reported the restaurant would be closing​.

As the coronavirus pandemic hit the shores and the sector was forced to shut its doors in 2020, Kerridge called on operators to use the lockdown period as an opportunity​.

During the crisis, he hosted a programme on BBC2​, focused on the plight pubs face. Saving Britain’s Pubs ​aimed to highlight the plethora of different issues the sector face when operating, with filming starting before the pandemic hit.

The three-part series followed operators and their challenges while Kerridge advised on how best to overcome some of the obstacles through broadening demographics and increasing prices.

More recently, Kerridge’s latest television series – The Hidden World of Hospitality with Tom Kerridge ​– is currently being aired on BBC2.

The eight-part series available weekly, lifts the lid on the highs and lows of working in the hospitality sector.

The celebrity chef recently told The Morning Advertiser​, the Government could and should be doing more​ to help the industry.

On his career in the sector, Kerridge said: “I’ve been cooking in professional kitchens for more than 30 years now.

“If I could tell my younger self some words of wisdom I have learnt along the way they would be; To always look after your team around you, at the end of the day you are only as strong as your weakest link and in a kitchen more so, if your KP walks out, the whole of service can be affected, which has a huge knock on effect potentially for the guest experience.

“[It would also be] to always keep learning, you are never too old to learn anything in life, from a new culinary technique, to launching a TikTok account – always push yourself to be better, even if just a little bit every day.

“To take some moments to reflect and assess, sometimes work can be so all consuming, it’s really important to take some time to look at the business from above and have a long-term strategy in the back of your mind – it’s also really helpful to find hobbies and other passions to mentally take a break too.”

Career highlights

Tom Kerridge cookbooks:

Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food

Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes

Tom’s Table

Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet

Lose Weight for Good

Tom Kerridge’s Fresh Start

Lose Wight & Get Fit

The Dopamine Diet

The Hand & Flowers Cookbook

Tom Kerridge’s Outdoor Cooking

Real Life Recipes

Pub Kitchen

Opening his now double Michelin-starred pub and the accolades he has been presented with along the way have been the chef’s highlights so far.

“The key stand out moments for me have been when my wife Beth and I received the keys to the Hand & Flowers in 2005,” Kerridge said.

“It was huge for us and any pub landlord as you can imagine. We had to get it right and we worked so hard to turn it into the pub it is today.

“Winning our first Michelin star in 2005 and then a second in 2012 was an incredible moment for us, it was ground-breaking and a really proud moment for us and the team.

“We’ve gone on to build a business with the Coach also winning a Michelin star, now headed up by Sarah Hayward​ and Kerridge’s Bar & Grill in London under head chef Nick Beardshaw is going from strength to strength.

“Our latest project is to launch a second Butcher’s Tap & Grill, off the back of the successful pub in Marlow, we will be opening in Chelsea towards the end of the year which is super exciting!”

Kerridge said his time in the sector had given him nothing but joy and happy memories mostly, with the exception of Brexit and Covid.

He added: “It’s a privilege to do what I do and I am extremely grateful. I have the most wonderful team of pirates around me, many of whom have been with me for over a decade, and for that I am truly thankful.

“Hospitality is such a generous and giving industry and I think people need to remember the reasons for going into it in the first place.  

“Would I do it all again? Hell YES!”

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