Cateys 2020: Restaurateur of the Year – Independent: Tom Kerridge

22 November 2020
Cateys 2020: Restaurateur of the Year – Independent: Tom Kerridge

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From opening his first solo venture with his wife Beth in 2005 to becoming an industry heavyweight admired by industry professionals and consumers alike, Tom Kerridge's career as an independent operator is the stuff of dreams.

In the past decade-and-a-half, Kerridge has launched five very successful pubs/restaurants and associated businesses, employing 200-plus team members, as well as becoming an influential role model who gives endlessly to the industry in which he works, to fellow chefs and restaurateurs, and to countless charities.

While the Hand & Flowers is and will remain at the heart of the business, the past six years have seen him diversify in numerous directions. Following the great success of his first site, in 2014 Tom opened the Coach, which quickly won a Michelin star of its own. In late 2017, he opened the Butcher's Tap (a butcher's and pub under one roof, also in Marlow); in 2018 he opened Kerridge's Bar & Grill at the Corinthia London; and, at the end of last year, he opened the Bull & Bear at the Stock Exchange hotel in Manchester.

The founder of food-led music festival Pub in the Park, last year Tom and his partner Brand Events rolled the concept out to eight locations across the UK. The festival has led to the creation of Lush Hospitality, an events and hospitality business designed to bring the same sense of occasion and memorable food to events as his restaurants, led by chefs who grew from the Hand & Flowers. It is the preferred supplier of the Saatchi Gallery in London and also caters for events at Twickenham Stadium, Hampton Court and Dulwich College, among others.

The 2017 Catey Chef Award winner has appeared on Great British Menu (and won, twice), MasterChef and Saturday Kitchen, and more recently fronted his own series, Fresh Start, How to Lose Weight For Good and Lose Weight and Get Fit, produced by his own production company, Bone Soup, all for the BBC.

A passionate philanthropist, in 2018 Kerridge was made a patron of industry charity Hospitality Action and of Scannappeal, a Buckinghamshire-based charity which raises funds to purchase life-saving equipment for Amersham, Stoke Mandeville, Wycombe and Community hospitals.

While 2020 has proved to be a tumultuous year for the industry, the Kerridges haven't stood still. This year, they took the number of bedrooms at the Hand & Flowers from 11 to 15; earlier this month, Kerridge published his eighth book, and the very first centred around his principal business, The Hand & Flowers Cookbook; and this month he launched his BBC Two programme, Saving Britain's Pubs with Tom Kerridge. At the start of lockdown, Tom and his team set up Meals From Marlow, which provided 80,000 meals for NHS staff, key workers and people in need in the Marlow area. It has since gone on to become a permanent charity.

What the judges said

"A brilliant chef, shrewd restaurateur and peerless trailblazer for the industry, Tom Kerridge inspires legions of fans at his critically acclaimed restaurants as well as engendering devotion and loyalty from his staff. He is also a huge supporter of emerging talent and industry initiatives." – Russell Norman

"Tom is a very worthy winner and was against some very stiff competition this year. His rise to fame and a successful business empire shows what a good, all-round person he is. His TV work and books have not detrimentally affected his businesses or his personality. He is always ready, willing and able to inspire and help." – Alistair Sandall

The shortlist

  • Sat and Amanda Bains, Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham
  • Tommy Banks, the Black Swan Oldstead and Roots York, Yorkshire
  • Robin and Sarah Gill, Darby's, London
  • Tom Kerridge, the Hand & Flowers, the Coach and the Butcher's Tap, Marlow, Buckinghamshire; Kerridge's Bar & Grill, London; and the Bull & Bear, Manchester
  • James Sommerin, Restaurant James Sommerin/the Shed by James Sommerin, Vale of Glamorgan

The judges

  • Peter Backman, consultant, Peter Backman
  • Elizabeth Carter, consultant editor, The Good Food Guide
  • Russell Norman, restaurateur, writer and broadcaster
  • Alistair Sandall, head of professional development, Institute of Hospitality
  • Bill Toner, chief executive, CH&Co Group
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