DIET food has a bad rep. It conjures up images of chewing on cardboard-like rice cakes and low-fat packet soups packed with preservatives, while you dream of a comforting bowl of pasta and battle cravings for anything that so much as resembles dessert.

Enter Tom Kerridge. He not only runs the UK's only pub with two Michelin stars, but he knows a thing or two about weight loss - having shed a staggering 12 stone himself.

Now back with a second diet book, Lose Weight For Good, and accompanying BBC programme, he's determined to demonstrate that calorie-controlled meals can be delicious - and easy to whip up at home.

"I looked at lower-calorie recipes and I found them incredibly depressing, boring and flavourless," Wiltshire-born Tom, 44, explains. "I thought, 'Well no wonder so many people yo-yo on diets, they're not enjoying what they're eating'."

He describes his new book as a "celebration of great-tasting food", with an emphasis on recipes that use everyday ingredients and come in portions big enough to fill you up. It's full of nutritious but hearty recipes, and some that might surprise you, like spicy lamb burgers, pork samosa pie, pizza with parma ham and mozzarella, and coffee and chocolate custard pots.

Pastry, red meat and puddings might not be classic health-book fodder, but pub grub is what he's famous for - and it really wouldn't be a Tom Kerridge book without a pie.

The accompanying TV show, currently on BBC Two, follows a group of 13 dieters on their mission to achieve steady but lasting weight loss with Tom's recipes. "Seeing them actually enjoying what they're eating has been the biggest thing for me," says the chef.

Alongside a typically hectic lifestyle, being in the restaurant business and constantly around food saw Tom's weight creep up to 30 stone. "I worked very hard, I spent a lot of time in other people's restaurants, a lot of time labouring in the kitchen. I'd go home late and have cheese on toast," he recalls. "It was the same trap everyone else falls into, but I suppose my lifestyle made it even more extreme."

Approaching 40 made him evaluate his health. "I thought, 'I've achieved where I am in life, but where am I going moving forward? OK, maybe I won't spend the next 40 years doing what I'm doing...'."

It was January 2013 when the dad-of-one gave up booze and devised his own weight-loss plan, later coined 'The Dopamine Diet', which was turned into a bestselling book. It took him to just under 18 stone, mainly by cutting down on carbohydrates.

"The hardest part was the first six to eight weeks of getting into the mindset and changing the habitual routines. Like when I'd normally have cheese on toast or when I'd usually go to the pub - that's the bit where you've got to be really strong-willed," he recalls.

One of the challenges for anyone trying to what their diet at the start of the year is finding the time to prepare healthy meals, and the inclination to learn new dishes.

"It's all well and good everybody saying they're a great cook, but sometimes you're a great cook at the weekends when you enjoy doing it, when you've got three or four hours to potter about making things and enjoying the process of cooking. But you eat every day," says Tom.

So the recipes in Lose Weight For Good really are meant to fit into busy lives - the steps are clear and simple, and you don't need a long list of ingredients.

"If you come home from work at 7 o'clock in the evening, you want to rustle something up in under 20 minutes and you want to know how to do it," Tom adds. "It's aimed at being accessible, even for the most amateur of cooks to have a go at making something taste good."

It's all about using some clever tricks. Some of the recipes include veg-masquerading-as-carb alternatives, like jerk chicken with cauliflower rice 'n' peas, chicken with peas and mushrooms and celeriac mash, and turkey ragu with white cabbage linguine. "They make you feel like you're not missing out on anything," Tom says. "They hold flavour, they taste nice, they're mind tricks."

But the best way to ensure dieters enjoy their food is to pack in the flavour - something Tom's using his 26 years of experience as a chef to do. "Don't be scared [of using spice]. Use hot spice gently, have a go with salt, pepper and paprika and fresh herbs - there's no such thing as too many fresh herbs."

Essentially, he wants to get people cooking, because there's no better way to ensure what you're putting into your body is healthy. But as for sticking to it? "Nobody else can do that for you," says Tom. "And it doesn't matter what diet you're on, you have to make that decision yourself and you have to do it."


Looking for healthy dinner ideas? Try this tasty yet simple fish dish.

Who says you can't eat cured meat when you're watching your weight? Michelin star chef Tom Kerridge has created a range of recipes for his new book, Lose Weight For Good book, which won't leave you feeling hungry or craving junk food.

This clean, fresh fish dish includes a small amount of chorizo to add a tasty, crispy layer- so you won't feel like you're depriving yourself too much. It's bound to be a hit...


(Serves two)

2tsp flaky sea salt

1tsp hot smoked paprika

2 cod fillets (200g each)

3 medium courgettes, cut into chunks

4 garlic cloves, thickly sliced

200ml fresh fish stock

1tsp dried oregano

Olive oil spray

400g tin butter beans, rinsed and drained

200g cherry tomatoes on the vine

40g pitted green olives

8 thin slices of chorizo

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, to finish


1. Mix the flaky salt with half a teaspoon of smoked paprika and sprinkle over both sides of the cod fillets. Place them on a plate, cover with cling film and refrigerate for one to two hours.

2. Preheat the oven to fan 180°C/gas 4. Line a roasting tin with baking parchment.

3. Place the courgettes in the roasting tin. Add the garlic and pour on half of the fish stock. Sprinkle with the oregano and some salt and pepper. Spray with 25-30 sprays of oil. Cook on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 minutes.

4. Remove the fish from the fridge, wash off the salt and pat dry with kitchen paper.

5. Take the tray from the oven and mix through the butter beans. Nestle the fish fillets into the mixture, along with the cherry tomatoes and olives. Pour on the rest of the fish stock. Lay the chorizo slices, overlapping, on top of the cod fillets.

6. Sprinkle the lemon zest and juice and the remaining half teaspoon of smoked paprika over everything and season with salt and pepper. Spray another 20 sprays of oil over the surface and bake in the oven for 12 minutes, until the fish is just cooked. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Calories per serving: 535


If you're on a bit of a January health-kick, making sure you get a nutritious breakfast is essential. Eggs - naturally high-protein with loads of good vitamins - have been found to keep you fuller for longer than things like cereal or toast.

Shakshuka, a skillet of eggs cooked in a spicy tomato sauce, is traditionally from North Africa, but the dish is gracing Instagram accounts everywhere now.

Tom Kerridge's version, from his new book Lose Weight For Good, is a perfect way to start the day, and very simple to make. Crack on...


(Serves 2)

1tsp light olive oil

1 red onion, finely sliced

1 large red pepper, cored, deseeded and diced

1 large green pepper, cored, deseeded and diced

4 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1tsp ground cumin

1/2tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp hot smoked paprika

A pinch of flaky sea salt

2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

4 medium free-range eggs

50g half-fat feta

A handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat the oil in a medium non-stick frying pan (that has a lid) over a high heat. Add the onion and cook for two minutes, then add the peppers and garlic and cook for a further four minutes. If the veg begin to stick, add a splash of water to the pan.

2. Stir in the cumin, cinnamon, paprika and salt and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, until the spices become fragrant. Tip in the tinned tomatoes, stir to combine and lower the heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.

3. Make four small wells in the tomato sauce for your eggs. Crack an egg into each well and place a lid on top of the frying pan. Leave the eggs to cook for five minutes or until the whites are just set.

4. Crumble the feta over the surface and finish with the chopped coriander and a grinding of pepper. Serve straight from the pan.

Calories per serving: 375


Yes, you can have dessert on a diet.

If you haven't tried vegetables in your baking yet, you should. Beetroot, sweet potato and courgettes (when done right) can add extra flavour and nutrients and help keep a sponge moist.

It also means you can skip using so much butter, for a much lighter and more diet-friendly dessert. Tom Kerridge devised this courgette and cardamom cake for his new book, Lose Weight For Good, for people who want to keep a check on their weight but still enjoy good grub.


(Serves 8)

Sunflower oil spray

250g half-fat margarine

100g caster sugar

4tbsp granulated sweetener

3 large free-range eggs

250g self-raising flour

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

1tsp ground cardamom

1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped

Finely grated zest of 2 limes

200g courgettes, grated

For the icing:

100g icing sugar

1tbsp light cream cheese

1tbsp lime juice

To finish:

Grated zest of 1 lime


1. Preheat the oven to fan 180°C/gas 4. Spray a 900g (2lb) non-stick loaf tin with a few sprays of oil.

2. Using a stand mixer or electric hand whisk and large bowl, cream together the margarine, caster sugar and sweetener until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground cardamom together over the mixture, add the vanilla seeds and lime zest and fold in gently, using a spatula, until just combined. Lastly, fold in the grated courgettes.

4. Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin and gently level the surface. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 50-60 minutes. To test, insert a skewer into the middle of the cake: it should come out clean; if not give it a little longer.

5. Once cooked, leave the cake to cool in the tin for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. To make the icing, in a bowl, whisk the icing sugar, cream cheese and lime juice together until smoothly combined.

7. Spread the icing on top of the cake and sprinkle with the lime zest. Cut into eight thick slices to serve.

Calories per serving: 365

n Lose Weight For Good: Full-Flavour Cooking For A Low-Calorie Diet by Tom Kerridge is published by Absolute, priced £22. Available now. The accompanying six-part series continues on BBC Two on Wednesdays.