Michelin-starred celebrity chef Tom Kerridge admits he is “uncomfortable with fame” despite becoming being one of UK TV’s most recognisable faces.
Kerridge, whose new show Tom Kerridge’s Fresh Start is currently being shown on BBC, also admits he’s still getting used to his growing legions of fans wanting to meet him, saying: “I find it weird that people want photos with a fat bloke from Gloucester.”
He said: “I find it weird that when I walk into a room there’s a good chance at least one in 10 of the people in it will know who I am. But I won’t know who they are. Being famous is bizarre. But at least I’m known for cooking. Actors are famous for the parts they’ve played, not for who they really are. And I have a friend who is a footballer and wherever he goes he gets s**t because he plays for a certain team.
“There isn’t a rivalry between fans of chefs – people don’t come up to me and say I hate you, I like Rick Stein.”
The Hand and Flowers restaurateur also said his teenage self wouldn’t believe his life as it is now if he could see it.
“I’d tell him if he works very hard, once a year he might get to go on holiday on business class,” he said. “He wouldn’t believe he’d end up on TV. That was not anything he ever planned for or aimed at, he was not that arrogant little f**ker.
“Everything that’s happened to me was because I said yes to everything and gave it a go. I never thought, wouldn’t it be good if I got two Michelin stars and my own TV shows. I just tried my hardest at everything I got the chance to do. If I could give the younger me advice I’d just say, never underestimate graft. Give up on sleep, work very hard, and it will pay off. Graft graft graft. And never give up.”
In total, more than 92,000 people have sold The Big Issue since 1991 to help themselves work their way out of poverty – more than could fit into Wembley Stadium.
The Bake Off: Creme De La Creme and How To Lose Weight For Good presenter wishes he could relive the day his pub was awarded two Michelin stars as it was “a huge moment for the team, for British food, for pubs.”
The accolade came at what was a difficult time in his life, Kerridge revealed: “Beth was in hospital because she’d just had an operation. So I was driving in and out of London. It was such a busy time, all a bit head-spinning. Then we got this letter delivered by hand. I can remember exactly how it felt.
“First I read the letter to myself, just in my head. Then I read it out to the whole kitchen. Then I phoned Beth and read it out to her. Amazing.”
Read the full interview in the Letter To My Younger Self section of this week’s Big Issue, on sale now.
Image: Tom K Alex Lake/The Sunday Times Magazine/News Licensing