Nominator: Tom Kerridge
Co-founder, with his wife, of The Hand & Flowers, Marlow – the celebrated eatery which within a year gained his first Michelin star
He may be most famous for his sunny personality, TV shows and dramatic weight loss, but no one should forget that Tom Kerridge was the first chef to win two Michelin stars for a pub. Granted, The Hand & Flowers is now more of a restaurant housed in a pub building, but it still serves fish and chips for lunch and you can sup a pint at the bar (if there’s any space).
The ultra-friendly, Gloucester-accented chef has always been very much a people person: funny, sociable but also nurturing. “I like working with people and encouraging them. We are about investing in people – not [in terms of] money, but time, energy, heart and soul. It’s been in our DNA since we opened.”
One of those Kerridge has inspired is his “one to watch” nomination Nick Beardshaw, who joined the team in Marlow eight years ago. “Nick has a raw and honest appreciation of food. Not only does he love cooking but he loves eating. That’s massively important as a chef, and it’s often overlooked,” says Kerridge. “He’s also an incredibly warm person who builds people around him and leads by example.”
Beardshaw now gets the chance to develop a new team, albeit with his mentor’s guiding hand behind him, with the recent opening, in early September, of Kerridge’s Bar & Grill in the Corinthia Hotel in London, where he will be head chef. Kerridge could not be more excited at the new venture: “To come back to London, where I worked for a number of years, to open my own place is the stuff of dreams. I feel like Ratatouille!”
Nominee: Nick Beardshaw
The man behind a new jewel in London’s culinary crown, Kerridge’s Bar & Grill at Corinthia Hotel, Westminster
[text] Nick Beardshaw’s enthusiasm is palpable – he is a product of the Tom Kerridge school of passion and positivity, after all – but the chef’s open demeanour is backed by intelligence and curiosity. These qualities have seen him develop into a cook with a deep understanding of the science of food, of flavour and, crucially, of the restaurant business as a whole.
“Working at The Hand & Flowers, not only did I enhance my technical skills but I learned about management and business too: how to guide and motivate young chefs, ensuring the environment is right and that the staff get a good education – everything you need on top of the cooking in order to run a high-level professional kitchen,” says Beardshaw.
He put these qualities to good use when heading up The Coach (pictured above), Kerridge’s second pub-restaurant in Marlow, which rapidly gained a Michelin star, before heading to London this year.
Kerridge and Beardshaw’s new location is a far cry from the pubs in style terms, set as it is within the five-star Corinthia Hotel. However, the menu retains many of the ‘great British food’ qualities that have underpinned their success. What’s more, Beardshaw appreciates how to work as part of a larger team. “The most important aspect of a chef’s job is that the business you work within is operating properly,” he says. “If there’s one thing that Tom has taught me, it is to never let your decisions be ego-driven.”
1983 Born in Weymouth, Dorset
2007 Becomes sous chef at Brinkley Village Resort in New Zealand
2008 Moves to Michelin-starred The Castle Hotel in Taunton, where he works as chef de partie at under Head Chef Richard Guest.
2010 Becomes chef de partie at Midsummer House in Cambridge – which has two Michelin stars and 4 AA Rosettes – under the tutelage of chef Patron Daniel Clifford; becomes, the same year, senior sous alongside Tom Kerridge at The Hand & Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire
2014 Becomes head chef at The Coach in Marlow where he leads a team of nine chefs doing up to 1000 covers per week
2018 Awarded one Michelin star in that year’s 2018 Guide, to add to his three AA Rosettes and two Michelin Bib Gourmand gongs
Robb Report’s Culinary Masters 2018 focus goes out as a tribute to one of its leading protagonists, Andrew Fairlie, who has stepped down from his Gleneagles restaurant after revealing he has a terminal brain tumour. We wish him strength and comfort during this difficult time. – Nick Scott, Editor, Robb Report UK
Look out for Part III of the series on New Year’s Eve.