A double Michelin star chef, Tom Kerridge has lost an astonishing 12 stone. With his new diet book, 'Lose Weight For Good', he hopes to help others with their weight loss journey through low-calorie, flavour-packed recipes. We spoke to him ahead of his appearance at Cambridge Literary Festival on 13 April
How would you sum up your new book, Lose Weight For Good?
Lose Weight For Good is a book of lower calorie recipes that are inspired through flavour, taste and wanting people to enjoy the food that they’re eating – and portion control that’s actually large, so you’re not hungry. It’s food that you’re going to enjoy, but all of it is family accessible – so there’s some stuff for weekends, that’s going to take a bit longer, but a lot of it is for the evenings when you come home from work. But it all has a lot of flavour, and hopefully, at the end, a stone of weight loss, but the reality is that I hope it’s a new way of eating – that you can stick to but that doesn’t even feel like a diet.
What sets it apart from other diet books?
It’s written by a chef – so it’s food and flavour focused. It’s not written from a dietitian or nutritionist’s point of view. I’ve come at it from a chef’s perspective, and looked at how to make food taste great, and I’ve also written it from the perspective of a person on a weight loss journey who has the psychological, uphill battle that everybody on a weight loss journey has. So, it’s with an understanding of that particular space.
Who are your kitchen inspirations and favourite food writers?
For me, as a chef, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the great Marco Pierre White and his cookbook White Heat. It came out when I was 18 and I saw this incredible, dynamic, fantastic chef that was cooking phenomenal food, that made cooking feel like it could be an exciting and vibrant career to take on. I’m also a big fan of Tim Hayward, and the way he looks at food, and the process – whether it’s pots and pans or knives – he has a huge love for the art of cooking and everything around it.
What’s your idea of food heaven?
It’s amazing charcuterie, lovely cheese and olives, sat in the sunshine somewhere, watching the sun go down and the waves crash against the beach… that’s a dream.
What would you change about British eating or dining habits, if anything?
I wouldn’t change anything! I think we’re all beginning to take a lot more responsibility for what we eat. Everything is out there for a reason, and you can’t ban fast food restaurants or chocolate bars, because not everybody needs to lose weight, it’s not a problem for everyone. The one thing I would change is where chocolate bars and crisps are shelved in garages – I’m not saying ban them, I’m just saying that they’re right next to the till: why can’t that be a fridge full of beautiful fruit, and other healthier options, and then if you want the crisps and the chocolate they’re just in another part of the garage where you have to go and find them, so you have to go and search for them, so that way nobody is just falling into the temptation when you’re paying for your stuff!
What’s the key to a lower calorie diet?
The key is portion control – but that doesn’t mean to say small portions. Something that often happens with lower calorie diets is that people make their portions so small that they end up still hungry, but actually, the key is that the potion is big enough, and satisfying. So, portion control, but not in the way that most people think.
Tom Kerridge is speaking at St John’s College on 13 April as part of Cambridge Literary Festival. The talk is at 6pm and tickets are £10 or £12.
For more information about the festival, look here
For an interview with memoirist Tara Westover, also at the festival, go here