INSPIRED by his own family, Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge tells Taste why he's on a mission to get us all cooking from scratch again.

Cooking can often take a backseat at home. With busy schedules, the different likes and dislikes of each family member to contend with, plus the nervousness that the thought of cooking from scratch can trigger, it's all too easy to become a bit too reliant on convenience food.

It's a habit that Tom Kerridge is determined to change, however. With his new book and TV show, Fresh Start, the Michelin-starred chef is keen to get more of us back to cooking from scratch, and make kitchens the true heart of the home again.

It might not seem easy, but it's key to a healthier 2019, he says.

"It's quite hard to make that big step to lose weight and eat healthier, if you don't know how to cook," acknowledges Wiltshire-born Kerridge, 45, who famously shed 12-stone himself.

"A lot of the recipes are in there to get people just cooking again; easy, quick pasta dishes," he adds of his new book. "Things like a turkey schnitzel with coleslaw. Things to get you back into the rhythm of being in the kitchen, but also, alongside the show, it becomes about family. Instead of taking individuals into the show, we've taken families and people who have a reason why they want to come back to the kitchen and cook."

It's about building family life around food, notes the chef, who owns Michelin-starred Hand and Flowers pub in Marlow. "What it's done is encourage people to spend time together, and to spend time with their families and make it a hobby, to make food that tastes nice and the kids are interested in. You've got to start kids young, get them interested in where things come from."

Kerridge's own family inspiration just turned three years old in December... Since becoming a dad to Acey, his son with wife Beth, the chef is even more conscious of what he prepares and eats at home than ever. Although, he admits: "I have the same problems as everybody else. It doesn't matter if your dad is a Michelin-starred chef, if you want fish fingers for tea with baked beans, that's it. I've learned - and I'm trying to teach myself - that parental guilt is a massive thing that everybody has, so it's not just you."

He proudly adds that Acey chose cucumber and carrot from a buffet at a party (although he is allowed to enjoy the sausage rolls and crisps!). "If good food is part of your everyday life, there isn't anything wrong with letting your kids have something naughty every now and again.

"If they grow up thinking that burgers and takeaway pizzas is tea, then that's wrong. But if you show them how to make pizza; that's where you take control of that. You're putting the stuff on the pizza that you want to eat. It makes food fun, and that's great."

You don't have to re-stock the pans cupboard, he says, but having a good, sharp knife is an essential. "If you buy better equipment, you might enjoy it more. If you're really good at DIY but you are working with a really cheap screwdriver and it keeps falling apart, but then you buy a flash one, like an electric one from a DIY shop and it makes your job easier and smarter, it's a bit like that for cooking equipment," he explains. "You haven't got to spend a lot of money - but the more you enjoy cooking, the more you'll spend because it becomes a great hobby, rather than it just being a chore.

"Just cooking for yourself brings across many positive results in lots of different ways, whether it's weight loss or just your mental outlook of positivity, your skin feeling better, or working together as a family," Kerridge adds.

"There's lots of positive side-effects in cooking for yourself. You cook tea, it was delicious; how great is that? Rather than, 'I microwaved tea, it was all right'. That leads to a new mindset and makes you feel better. It's not like we're asking people to climb Mount Everest here. It's having a go at cooking."


A hearty supper for cosy evenings.

"Rich and creamy, this could easily become a new favourite at home. It's also a great way of getting a big portion of veg into your family without them even noticing!" declares Tom Kerridge, whose new book, Tom Kerridge's Fresh Start, aims to get people to fall back in love with cooking from scratch.

"It's all about the toppings: Crunchy seeds and breadcrumbs, sweet chunks of butternut squash, and nuggets of acidity from the sun-blushed tomatoes."

This dish can be frozen and eaten later in the week, too.


(Serves 6)

575 calories per serving

1kg butternut squash, cut into chunks (about 2cm)

1tbsp olive oil

500g macaroni

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the cheese sauce:

60g butter

60g plain flour

1L whole milk

1tbsp liquid aminos

60g Parmesan, finely grated

1/4tsp freshly grated nutmeg

For the topping:

A handful of sage leaves

40g sun-blushed tomatoes, roughly chopped

50g fresh breadcrumbs

2tbsp pumpkin oil (or use olive oil)

2tbsp pumpkin seeds

Green salad to serve (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7. Line a large roasting tray with baking parchment.

2. Place the squash in the roasting tray. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cook on the top shelf of the oven for 25 minutes or until the squash is tender and browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly for a couple of minutes. (Keep the oven on.)

3. Tip three-quarters of the roasted squash into a blender and blitz to a puree; set the rest aside.

4. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the macaroni and cook until almost al dente (two to three minutes less than the time suggested on the packet).

5. Meanwhile, for the sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for one minute, then whisk in the milk and cook, whisking, until the sauce thickens slightly. Lower the heat and add the liquid aminos, Parmesan and nutmeg. Stir until the cheese has melted, then stir through the squash puree to make a rich, smooth sauce. Take off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Drain the macaroni, add to the sauce and stir well. Tip into a large, deep baking dish, about 25 x 30cm. Scatter over the rest of the roasted squash, the sage, sun-blushed tomatoes and breadcrumbs. Drizzle with the oil. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, turning on the oven grill at the same time. Bake for 10 minutes.

7. Take out the dish, scatter the pumpkin seeds evenly over the surface and return to the oven for five minutes or until the topping is golden. Serve at once, with a green salad.

To freeze: Cool and pack in a lidded foil tray (or several trays). Defrost fully in the fridge, then remove the lid and reheat in an oven preheated to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6 for 30 minutes, until hot all the way through. If the surface appears to be browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil.


A spicy mid-week supper.

"Lamb cutlets are perfect for a week-night supper as they cook in no time, and they work really well with this gently spiced marinade," says Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, who shares this recipe in his new book, Tom Kerridge's Fresh Start.

"The Bombay aloo is a flexible side dish that is also good cold, as a twist on a classic potato salad," he notes.

Fancy giving it a go? Here's how...


(Serves 4)

645 calories per serving

675 calories with minted yoghurt

12 lamb cutlets

2tbsp garam masala

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1tbsp vegetable oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Bombay aloo:

500g new potatoes

1tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 1/2tsp ground coriander

1tsp cumin seeds

1/2tsp ground turmeric

1tsp ground cumin

1/2tsp chilli powder

400g tin chopped tomatoes

250ml water

A handful of coriander, finely chopped

For the minted yoghurt (optional):

A handful of mint leaves

150g Greek yoghurt (0% fat)


1. For the aloo, add the potatoes to a pan of boiling salted water and cook for 12-15 minutes, until tender.

2. Meanwhile, season the lamb cutlets with salt and pepper and place them in a bowl. Add the garam masala, lemon juice and oil, turn the cutlets to coat in the spicy mix and set aside to marinate.

3. Drain the potatoes, halve them and set aside. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for five to 10 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for two minutes. Lower the heat, sprinkle in the spices and stir for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and 150ml of the water. Bring to a simmer, add some salt and pepper and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened.

4. Meanwhile, heat a griddle over a medium-high heat. When hot, cook the lamb cutlets on the griddle in two or three batches for three to four minutes on each side, depending on their thickness. Remove to a warm plate and leave to rest under foil for a few minutes.

5. Meanwhile, for the minted yoghurt, if serving, blitz the mint and yoghurt in a small food processor until smooth. Season to taste with salt.

6. Add the potatoes to the tomato sauce along with the remaining 100ml water. Bring to a simmer and simmer for five minutes. Stir through the coriander and taste to check the seasoning. Serve the lamb cutlets with the Bombay aloo, and minted yoghurt if using.


This'll give the veg a bit of zing...

"North African spices are more subtle and aromatic than fiery and hot, so in this dish, they bring out the natural sweetness of the carrots," says Tom Kerridge, who features this recipe in his new book, Fresh Start.

"This warm salad is great on its own as a light lunch or dinner, but it will also work well as a side with some simply cooked chicken or fish," he adds.

Here's how it's done...


(Serves 4)

495 calories per serving

800g baby carrots (assorted colours, ideally), scrubbed

1tbsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed

1tbsp Aleppo pepper flakes

3tbsp blossom honey

3tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 celery sticks, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, sliced

1tbsp ras el hanout

2 x 250g packs cooked Puy lentils

2tbsp water

A handful each of parsley and mint, roughly chopped

150g feta cheese, crumbled

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, to serve


1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7. Line two baking trays with baking parchment.

2. If any of the baby carrots are bigger than the others, cut them so that they are all an even size, then place all the carrots on the lined baking trays.

3. Sprinkle the carrots with the crushed cumin and pepper flakes and drizzle with the honey and two tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil, sharing equally between the trays. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, giving the carrots a good stir halfway through cooking.

4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining one tablespoon oil in a saute pan. Add the onion and cook for four to five minutes until it starts to turn brown. Add the celery and garlic and cook for another two minutes.

5. Stir in the ras el hanout and cook for one minute, then add the cooked lentils with the water and warm through. Remove from the heat and stir in half the chopped herbs.

6. Divide the lentils between warmed bowls and pile the roasted carrots on top. Scatter over the remaining herbs and crumbled feta, then zest over the lemon. Cut the lemon into wedges and serve on the side.

* Tom Kerridge's Fresh Start by Tom Kerridge is published by Bloomsbury Absolute, priced £26. Available now.