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Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Tom Kerridge, the Hand & Flowers

Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Tom Kerridge, the Hand & Flowers

Overall ranking: 87 (ranked 93 in 2010)

Chef ranking: 29 (ranked 28 in 2010)

Tom Kerridge – Snapshot

Tom Kerridge is the chef-patron of Michelin-starred gastropub the Hand & Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

Tom Kerridge – Career guide

Initially a child actor, with roles on television shows such as Miss Marple and London’s Burning, Kerridge’s first job in catering was a stint as a commis chef at Calcot Manor in Gloucestershire, followed by a year in the kitchens of five-star London hotel the Capital in 1994.

Three years at the Stephen Bull restaurant followed, then two years with Gary Rhodes at his Pimlico restaurant Rhodes on the Square, before Kerridge joined Odette’s in Primrose Hill as sous chef.
A stint at Monsieur Max in Hampton came next, then, in 2003, Kerridge moved to Norwich to take over the running of the kitchen at Michelin-starred restaurant Adlards.

He parted company with the restaurant 18 months later in order to find his own site with his sculptor wife, Beth. After initially hoping to open a restaurant, the couple’s limited budget meant they ended up taking over a run-down pub in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, and after a refurbishment the Hand & Flowers opened in February 2005. It picked up a Michelin star in 2007, and has since opened four guest rooms on site.

Tom Kerridge – What we think

Kerridge’s happy marriage of robust, award-winning cuisine and convivial pub atmosphere has become something of a model among the new breed of Michelin-hopeful gastropubs.
Despite the fact that it swiftly became a foodie destination, Tom and Beth deserve credit for shying away from rebranding the site as a restaurant, ensuring it maintained its pub atmosphere, with beers and good-value wine central to the concept.

Since its launch in 2005 the Hand and Flowers has picked up one Michelin star, three AA rosettes, a Catey for Best Newcomer in 2007, a 6/10 rating in the Good Food Guide – as well as the Buckinghamshire Newcomer of the Year in 2006, while Kerridge himself has won the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Pub Restaurant Chef of the Year title.

The couple’s brief involvement with Clayton Lounge, a 150-seat operation in Marlow that was opened by a former Hand and Flowers employee in January 2010 selling Kerridge’s signature British food – but from which the Kerridges pulled out in May – shows they harbour a willingness to expand so long as the concept is right.

Kerridge participated in the BBC’s Great British Menu programme in both 2010 and 2011, becoming the only contestant to win the best main course dish twice.

Tom Kerridge’s ranking in the 2010 100 >>

Chef revelations: Tom Kerridge >>

Slow-cooked duck with duck-fat chips and gravy by Tom Kerridge >>

Restaurants in Marlow the new Ludlow >>

The Hand & Flowers website >>

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