Tom Kerridge is a household name that needs little introduction. The "not a Michelin-star kind of guy" chef opened the gastropub The Hand & Flowers in 2005 and - awkwardly - within a year had gained his first Michelin star, the first pub to earn the accolade.
He added a second in 2012 and has since had a string of television shows and cookbooks. We caught up with the down-to-earth foodie to ask some basic cooking questions. Asking for a friend, of course.
ESQUIRE: What's the one ingredient you can't live without?
Tom Kerridge: That would have to be dairy products, just because there are so many variations. I love to use dairy to season and enrich dishes.
What's the secret to cooking a perfect steak?
The steak needs to be caramelised carefully and rested correctly – that's the secret to the perfect steak!
What do you always avoid ordering on a menu?
Definitely carbohydrates! Potatoes and bread, in particular. I've lost a lot of weight by cutting these ingredients out of my diet.
What tricks do you use for perfect fried/scrambled/poached eggs?
Slow cooking. It's all about not rushing the eggs otherwise they can become hard and rubbery.
What is your go-to meal when you're low on time?
Omelettes are great when you're low on time. I particularly love Spanish style omelettes with some nice chorizo and cheese.
What would your last meal be?
Fish and chips and a can of Lilt.
What is the best recent food trend?
Barbequing food and techniques involving slow cooking, dry rubs and marinades which really drive flavour forward.
What is the most overrated recent food trend?
None – they all have their purpose.
What dish/food gets the most likes on your Instagram?
Things that I cook at home rather than in the restaurant are most popular. People can relate to these dishes more I think.
What is a good simple piece of advice for pairing wine and food?
My advice? Pay no attention to it. Drink what you want and eat what you want.
What is your secret London restaurant recommendation?
That would have to be Claude Bosi's cooking at his restaurant Bibendum. Claude's food is wonderful and the building is beautiful. It's real solid classic cooking with a French twist
What dish are you bored of cooking/seeing on menus?
Every restaurant has its purpose. I'm a huge fan and love seeing French cookery on menus. I love fabulous French food, plus France was where I learnt my trade.
What is your favourite British dish?
Can't go far wrong with roast beef and Yorkshire puddings!
What country in the world has the best food?
Great Britain. As a country, we're not bogged down by one food or style. We embrace styles from all over the world, whether it's Spanish, French or Japanese.
Easiest meal to impress someone?
Slow-cooked shoulder of lamb. It's something you can pop in the oven for 5-6 hours and the flavours are unbeatable.
Tom Kerridge will be at this year's Taste of London festival at Regent's Park, 14-18 June.