The dishes that made me: Tom Kerridge
My mum’s sausage roast
We were a single-parent family, so didn’t have a lot of money. If my mum didn’t have enough to pay for a chicken or something, she’d buy a roll of sausage meat and bake it like a joint of meat. You’d get a slice of that with roast potatoes and all the trimmings.
As a kid, it didn’t matter what it was—the best thing was sitting down at the table and eating something that was cooked properly. And everyone loves their mum’s roast, don’t they?
This meal also taught me to see food as something to celebrate, no matter the cost. In fact, if you think about some of the best dishes in the world, most of them are derived from peasant-style flavours in cooking.
A Beefeater dish
Again, this comes back to not having a lot of money. My mum took us to a Beefeater restaurant when I was a kid and when you’re ten years old, you think the chef in a Beefeater is a genius.
There were bright lights in the kitchen, there were flames, there was somebody doing something that they loved and they gave me a tall paper hat. I remember thinking, This is a great thing to be involved in.
The skillset in the Beefeater is not necessarily of a Michelin-star standard, but I remember the person being enthusiastic and embracing a kid who was interested, which was really important. For me, it was a moment of understanding that being in this industry is all about hospitality.
Minced chicken curry
This features in my latest book, The Dopamine Diet. You don’t see minced chicken often, but I’m a huge fan of it. Mince, in general, is fantastic—it absorbs flavour and is very cost-effective.
This book is a result of my personal journey of losing so much weight and trying to work out how I was able to stay on the diet for such a long time. In retrospect, it’s all about the food being high in dopamine-releasing amino acids.
As a chef, your restaurant or place of work becomes successful because you’re cooking the food that you want to eat. You make it with heart, soul and passion, and then people enjoy it.
Personally, I like eating a lot of protein—and The Dopamine Diet is all about embracing the things that you can eat, rather than worrying about the things that you can’t. Losing weight isn’t easy—but it’s a lot easier if you’re on a diet where you’re looking forward to the food that you’re eating.
The Dopamine Diet: My low-carb, stay-happy way to lose weight by Tom Kerridge (Absolute Press, £20) is out now
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