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Tom Kerridge defends pub charging £87 for sirloin steak and chips after backlash

The leading British chef says the higher prices mean he can pay his staff ‘properly’

Hollie Richardson
Wednesday 08 September 2021 10:13 BST
Related video: TV chef Tom Kerridge talks about losing 12 stone

Tom Kerridge has explained the reasons behind the prices of meals at The Hand and Flower pub, following online criticism of the menu’s £87 sirloin steak and £26.50 crème brûlée.

The 48-year-old Michelin-star chef says the food prices are high because he pays his hospitality staff “properly” and treats their jobs as professional careers.

Wine expert Guy Woodward started the debate about the Buckinghamshire-based pub by tweeting: “Website of @handfmarlow by @ChefTomKerridge – ‘unpretentious’, ‘proper pub’, ‘for everyone to enjoy’ ‘relaxed and accessible’.

“Also @handfmarlow – steak and chips: £87; side of cabbage: £7.50; creme brûlée: £26.50. And people complain about wine list mark-ups...”

Kerridge responded, writing: “Those prices include everything , VAT and service. No additional service charge at all. Also I pay staff properly and treat their job as a professional career. Perhaps the real cost of dining should be addressed.

He added: “Unpretentious does not mean cheap. Also, why is profit a bad word?”

Woodward asserted that his issue “isn’t with the princes” but with the marketing that suggests it is an “‘unpretentious, proper pub’ that’s ‘accessible to everyone...’”

The menu at the two Michelin-starred pub also features a lamb main at £69 and a spiced venison loin at £60. All the desserts are priced at £26.50.

People on Twitter have been divided in their response to the debate.

“This is reason why people working in hospitality get paid a s*** wage,” wrote one chef. “Because people like you don’t think that a well-butchered, reared steak, treated well, cooked well, handled by more than one chef should be worth this. I’m sure Tom Kerridge has bills, rent, wages to pay for too.”

“Guy, I totally agree with you!” said another Twitter user. “Marketing is so wrong and the cost is unreasonable. Using staff retention as an excuse for ripping off customers is really ridiculous!”

Kerridge later tweeted on his feed: “Some absolute plonkers on here.”

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