Tom reveals how lockdown has improved his family life
Not a lot of people know this, but I’m very good at… maths. I love the TV show Countdown. I’m rubbish with the conundrum, but my brain seems to make sense of numbers. I once sat in Countdown’s Dictionary Corner and managed to beat the two contestants in the numbers round, so I was pleased with that.
My best friend is… my wife Beth [Cullen-Kerridge]. We’ve been together for 23 years now since meeting in our twenties. She’s also my business partner. And a successful sculptor. She’s amazing.
My nickname is… I don’t have one. What do they call me in the kitchen? I don’t want to know. They just call me “chef”, which is pretty standard in kitchens.
The bravest thing I’ve ever done was… opening a business. Taking the jump from being an employee with someone else making all the decisions to being your own boss is terrifying. The first few months are scary – you’ve taken a pay cut and you’re working every hour. But I’m a workaholic. I submerge myself into my work. One thing lockdown taught me is to add more value into our family’s life. I want to make some changes and free up some time to try new things like scuba diving. Maybe next year…
My favourite TV show is… Match Of The Day. I’m a massive football fan and supporter of Manchester United. When I get home late from work on a Saturday night, I can put on Match Of The Day and relax. I love how you can get emotionally immersed in football. It used to affect my mood if my team lost. But as I’ve got older I’ve realised it doesn’t matter how much you shout at the TV, you’re not going to control the game. I like watching most competitive sports. During the Olympics, I turn on the telly and I’m glued. I can be up until 3am watching weightlifting. I love people who push themselves to be the best at something.
My perfect evening is… a night in on the sofa. It used to be going out to a posh restaurant but nowadays it’s all about getting home to see my little man, Acey, who’s four and a half. Then Beth and I will watch a movie with a takeaway curry. I know for most people, that’s just a standard Friday night, but it doesn’t happen very often in my world. In some respects, lockdown was a positive thing for me. I regularly did bath time and bedtime with Acey. Reading stories to him is a privilege.
My first kiss was… about 16 or 17. I don’t think I was a late developer. I went to an all-boys school so I wasn’t doing any kissing there. We were smoking cigarettes, drinking cider and playing rugby. Girls were the last thing on my mind until I joined the Youth Theatre Group in Cheltenham. Suddenly girls became interesting.
Tom’s new show starts Thursday at 9pm
The best thing my parents taught me was… humility. I grew up in a single-parent family with my mum. I’d play rugby games as a kid at the weekend and then we’d all head back to mine for lunch. My mum would have done extra roast potatoes just in case. Because of my upbringing, hospitality is ingrained in me. Cooking is my love, but what I learnt from my mum enabled me to develop and create a restaurant experience for people.
My biggest regret is… I don’t have one. You should never regret anything you’ve done as your mistakes will always form part of your life. If you’re going to have a regret, make it something you haven’t done. I always say yes to everything, even if it’s a bad decision.
I’d like to say sorry to… If I get something wrong, I make a point of admitting I got it wrong and apologise there and then.
The one thing I’d change about myself is… my lack of patience. I wish I had a longer fuse. I’m so glad I didn’t have to home school during lockdown. It must have been a nightmare. I feel other parents’ pain.
The last time I cried was… at the birth of my son, Acey. That was an unbelievably overwhelming moment. He was two weeks early but he was still massive when he was born – 11lb 4oz. Beth was still welding up until three days before she gave birth. She is one strong woman.
The first record I ever bought was… Boxerbeat by JoBoxers in about 1983. I would have been 10 or 11. I’d save up my pocket money and ride into town with my mates on our bikes on a Saturday to a record shop in Gloucester. Such fond memories.
It’s not good for my image, but I like… Peperami. I’m all over them. When I first went on a diet to lose a load of weight [Tom has lost 12 stone in the last three years], I was on a carb-free diet, so Peperami was like a good meaty snack. I’m still a huge fan.
My greatest weakness is… being led astray. When I was a kid, I’d always be influenced by the naughty boys in class. I still am now. In my drinking days, even if I knew I had to be up in the morning, if someone suggested carrying on the party after 3am, I’d be up for it. I’ve been sober for seven years now but I still do stupid stuff.
If I could pass any law I’d… make sure everyone voted. Apathy for voting is awful. Whether it’s about how much tax you pay, or what your bus fare costs, or the annoying potholes in the road – everyone has an opinion, so vote.
I drive… two cars. I’ve got an old BMW convertible, which I drive around in the summer. Then about five years ago I bought a Porsche 911. It took a lot of hard work to get to the point where I could buy myself a Porsche.
The shop I can’t walk past is… Harrods. If I’m in that part of town, I will go and have a walk around its food hall. It’s mind-blowing, world-class even. Fortnum & Mason and Selfridges are just as good. You see the sweets stacked up like pyramids. It’s got a fairy-tale feel all year round. The chocolate section is the thing that pulls me in. I’ll always buy something special for Beth.
The most expensive thing I’ve ever splashed out on is… the Porsche is the most I’ve spent on something for fun. You can’t take dogs in it, you can just about get the kid’s car seat in it and it’s not very comfortable for long drives. But I love it.
My perfect Sunday is… a family day. I get up early about 6.30am and head out for a run. Usually I do the gym. I don’t enjoy running but I like the feeling afterwards. We go for breakfast with friends at The Coach [one of Tom’s two pubs in Marlow] and then head to the park with the little man and ride bikes. Then we might go on to soft play or trampolining. I’d then shove a slow roast in the oven for tea and we’d all sit together to eat.
My favourite place in Britain is… Cornwall. My best mate is a chef called Paul Ainsworth. He is from there and has a couple of restaurants in Padstow and Rock. I’ve known Paul for about 20 years, since we were teenagers.
I’m currently reading… Twitter. I get sent loads of books and I love them but I don’t have time to sit and read. I read a lot of online news and Twitter. I feel very connected to politics right now, although it can make me incredibly angry and upset.
Tom Kerridge Barbecues starts on Thursday at 9pm on Food Network. Also available on Dplay.