My life in travel: Tom Kerridge
'My wife always makes us take a beach holiday, because otherwise I burn out'
Friday 06 June 2014
Michelin-starred chef, Tom Kerridge, launches a new restaurant, On 5, at Royal Ascot this year (17-21 June; ascot.co.uk).
First holiday memory?
The Isle of Wight. We grew up as a single-parent family, with not a lot of money, so when everyone else was going on foreign holidays we used to go there. As a kid, it felt just as magical.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
The north coasts of Cornwall and Kent. They're both food-motivated. In Cornwall, I like Padstow and Rock, where you've got chefs such as Paul Ainsworth, Nathan Outlaw and obviously the great Rick Stein. In Kent, Whitstable has a fantastic food scene, that's also quite edgy and there's the Sportsman pub in Seasalter, which has Michelin-starred chef, Stephen Harris.
The first proper foreign holiday I went on with my wife, to a small Greek island called Agistri. It was a very simple holiday, but I just remember it being a brilliant week – partying at night and sleeping during the day.
What have you learnt from your travels?
On trips to New York, I've learnt that the food scene is incredibly vibrant. Simple things are done very well there. I've also discovered that Singapore is one of the most fantastic cities you'll ever come across. You can eat very cheap street food or incredible top-end meals. Most of my travels have been food-related – which is not a bad way to go.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
If it's my choice, I would go to Barcelona for three days and then Paris for three more. I like going to cities and looking around at food and culture. In reality, if we do get a holiday, we book one where we do nothing, because otherwise I burn out. My wife, Beth, makes us.
Ideal travelling companion?
Beth. She takes it away from food for me and opens me up to culture. She broadens my horizons massively. Venice and Florence have been two of the most incredible experiences.
The last proper holiday I had was in March last year and I was actually writing a book at the time. We were in Antigua and I wrote Proper Pub Food from 7am until lunch time, then in the afternoons, I'd chill out on the beach. I did try to read Gone Girl but I only got half-way through.
Where has seduced you?
Singapore. It's such a diverse, fantastic city. There are influences from Malaysia, China, India and even Britain. I will go back again and again. I absolutely adore it.
Worst travel experience?
On a particular airline for my honeymoon. The 10-hour flight to Kenya was one of my worst experiences ever. The seats were so small, everything about it was crammed and awful.
The Soho Hotel in London is brilliant. The staff were fantastic, the hotel was beautiful. It does very understated luxury. It isn't like one of the five-star posh hotels on Park Lane, but everything about it is very cool.
From Cape Town up to Hermanus in South Africa. The way that the countryside changes. We went the scenic route rather than the main road, through the mountains. It was the most mind-blowing, incredible landscape. In Hermanus, we also did a coastal walk and saw whales.
Best meal abroad?
One is Singapore, the last meal I had down a back alleyway in the Gaylan District. I was taken by a restaurateur. We sat on yellow plastic chairs and were treated like gods by this guy that was cooking in a wok. Also The Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare in New York was mind-blowing. And, I had a brilliant meal in Stockholm, at Restaurant Frantzen. The chef, Bjorn Frantzen, cooks in this tiny 22-cover townhouse, where possibly the best course is the bread and butter.
I have never been to India or Japan. I would love to go to both, but I think before we do that, there is probably going to be some form of beach holiday stuck in by Beth somewhere. It might be the Maldives or Mauritius this year.
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