Kerridge urges pubs to 'dig deep and work hard' at Pub in the Park

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Pub in the Park: A look into the festival in Marlow earlier this month
Pub in the Park: A look into the festival in Marlow earlier this month

Related tags Events Pub in the Park Tom kerridge Chefs

The Morning Advertiser (MA) has taken a look inside Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park festival, with top tips and words of encouragement for operators also shared by the TV chef.

Pub in the Park’s Marlow event took place in the Buckinghamshire town’s Higginson Park between Thursday 16 and Sunday 19 May, marking its return after the previous organisers, Brand Events TM, collapsed last year​.

With Kerridge now at the helm, this year’s new-look event included demonstrations from Mary Berry and Simon Rimmer as well as cook offs and performances from a variety of acts including Van Morrison, Busted, Example and Paloma Faith.

Vendors from all over the country were also in attendance, with pop-up pubs from Rick Stein, the Bull and Last in Highgate, the Oarsman in Marlow, the Hand & Flowers in Marlow and Greene King.

During a Q&A session, Kerridge revealed his number one piece of advice for operators navigating ongoing challenges to the MA​, urging publicans to “dig deep and work hard” as people still want to go out.

He said: “We all know everyone has got less money in their pocket and rising costs behind the scenes are high, but what I would say to every operator out there is to really concentrate and be tight on all of your margins, keep looking at where everything is, ask questions for every invoice that comes into the building.”

Great partnership 

Kerridge also revealed the secrets behind his mashed potato recipe, explaining he uses double cream, full fat milk and butter to create an extra rich taste.

Moving to the Miele stage, Masterchef the Professionals contestants Lauren Wilmott and James Sharp went head to head in a cook off challenge in which they had just 20 minutes to create a dish of their choice inspired by the upcoming Olympics. 

Keeping it "simple and healthy", Wilmott took inspiration from the type of high protein meals she would eat when training as a gymnast and made a classic French Niçoise salad on toast while Sharp opted for steak tartare.

Guests also had the chance to meet some of the famous faces appearing over the weekend, with Kerridge, Mary Berry, Simon Rimmer, who also hosted podcast Pod in the Park, and Rick Stein among those participating in book signings. 

In addition, the Cafe Murano Book Club stage also heard from a variety of authors and speakers, including Ed Smith, who spoke about his recipe book Crave. 

Pub in the Park’s demo chef Chris Mackett, who worked with Kerridge to open the Hand & Flowers, also told the MA​ the event featured “rockstars of the industry”.

He said: “It’s great partnership to be involved with M&S and Pub in the Park; there’s new stages and it’s a whole new thing and it is brilliant.”

Education and enjoyment 

In addition, Mackett advised taking part in events like Pub in the Park was “one of the best things operators could do” as the weekends are always busy and fun, delivering “wonderful food”.

“It’s also a really good place for pubs to showcase their produce, culinary skills and hospitality skills.

“Pub in the Park is all about families and mainstream customers [for pubs] that make business wonderful.

“We are engaging the next generation with food; they are the next customers, and it really does drive the education and enjoyment of food”, he added.

Mackett presented on the M&S Village stage on the festival’s Friday evening session, demonstrating Kerridge’s recipes, his favourite of which was strawberries baked in Pimms with a lemon shortbread and whipped cream with vanilla.

Pub in the Park will be visiting Reigate, Chiswick and St Albans later this summer.


DJ Chris Moyles kept festival goers entertained 


Crowds flocked to the Fire Pit for demonstrations 


Ed Smith discussed his book

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Kerridge's Marlow pub the Hand and Flowers drew in food lovers


The TV chef answered attendees burning questions during a Q&A session 


Busted performed all their hits


Hungry guests were eager to sample some of the food on offer


Greene King kept beer lovers hydrated throughout the event


Kerridge cooked up a storm on the Miele stage


Thrill seekers made the most of the fun fair 


Vina Sol engaged customers with demonstrations in the VIP area


The pressure was on during the cook off


Rick Stein's pop-up pub proved to be a crowd pleaser 

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Greene King's Tap Bar

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Simon Rimmer kept everyone up to date with the event with Pod in the Park


Guests were shown how to cook and cut a Tomahawk steak


Pimms and Laurent Perrier were also on offer 

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