Tom Kerridge is entirely without vanity, which is ironic for someone so famous for losing weight.

It means that he lacks the aloofness so often associated with the rich and famous, and is unutterably down-to-earth, sitting in the bar at his two Michelin-starred pub The Hand and Flowers with a look of cheerful bemusement.

Does he like being asked for a selfies then? “I don’t mind it. I just think it’s a bit weird. Weird that they want a picture with me – a big, bald bloke – in the first place,” he laughs with that deep rumbling chuckle, his enormous meaty hand engulfing mine in greeting.

In short, Tom doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. In his eyes, he’s just a chap, albeit a giant, from Gloucester, who likes food and is rather obsessed with cooking.

The success of his beloved pub, The Hand and Flowers, its spin off The Coach (which has one Michelin star) and The Butchers Tap, up the road in Marlow is a bonus.

He’s also revelling in the success of his new BBC TV series Lose Weight For Good, which helps people shed pounds by teaching them to cook healthily. He is, after all, the best advocate, having lost a boggling 12 stone himself four years ago.

“I needed to change,” he says shrugging. “So while I’ll still go to the pub with my mates, my life is different these days, and I have a two-year-old.

“So I really enjoy the TV shows, although I hate watching myself. I’m comfortable in my own skin as a chef, but not on TV,” he smiles.

It must be hard to compartmentalise himself though? “It is a bit busy at the moment,” he concedes, “But I’m a chef first and foremost and I really believe in everything I do because it’s always about food. I live eat and dream it 24 hours a day, so it’s never just a job.”

What of the hassle of keeping so many balls in the air, of employing so many people, of keeping his stars? “It is a pressure that you put on yourself,” Tom admits.

“But as long as you have standards that you set yourself, and you always want to improve, then you are doing alright. If you think about the pressure too much it takes over, so we focus on our customers instead. It’s all about them – making them happy.”

Does he worry about his restaurants while he’s away? “I have a great team, 120 at the last count, so I leave everything in their capable hands. It’s really not about me.”

But it is isn’t it, because he’s the name, he’s the reason people flock? “I don’t think so. We have a great reputation and yes I make the big decisions but we all have the same passion for food here which filters down.

“So I just carry on cooking my own way, classical French. I try to keep it exciting but I also like stability. There are also things that have been on the menu for years. It’s all about the product, the ingredients and the flavour.”

“So Pub In The Park is just an extension of what we do already, and a great opportunity to taste food by some amazing chefs while listening to some great bands.”

The new foodie festival began in Marlow last year and will be returning this summer. So what did Tom enjoy the most?

“Well, my son got up on stage last year to make chocolate with Raymond Blanc so he will definitely be making an appearance,” he says lighting up at the mention of his two year-old Acey, with wife and sculptor Beth Cullen Kerridge.

“He’s got a small drum kit as well, so who knows? I on the other hand don’t have a musical note in my body,” he laughs.

Tom still loves his rugby though, when he has the time. “There are two matches that count Bath v Gloucester home and away,” he tells me. “I did play. I was in the school’s final aged 14-15 but by the time I was 16/17 I was cooking and that was it.

“But I wouldn’t change anything. I’m happy and comfortable at home and work. I can’t moan can I?”

And with that, he’s off, back to his beloved kitchens where he can forget about being that big bald bloke on the TV and just get on with some cooking.

Pub In The Park

Marlow, Bath, Tunbridge Wells, Knutsford

Go to, to buy tickets from February 1