Most chefs will tell you it’s all about the produce and the kit. Just as hairdressers have their scissors, a chef’s knife is their tool. So when chef Tom Kerridge decided to co-produce kitchen product range, he took the task seriously.
He sat at a potter’s wheel to get the feel of clay beneath his hands. He headed to a traditional foundry in steel city Sheffield to source the best knives.
The range has been exclusively produced in conjunction with British manufacturers. As well as those knives made in Sheffield, find textiles and enamelware from Lancashire, wood products from London, ceramics from Shrewsbury and pans from Birmingham. All made with traditional skills and love – the range was about bringing together skills and crafts from all over the UK – something Tom is passionate about.
“When your profile rises you get offered a lot of opportunities, but I never wanted to just stick my name on something. That wouldn’t fit with the ethos of my business,” he explains. “I didn’t want to produce knives that say ‘these are good for you at home, but they’re not what I would use at work’. So, yes, the knives are expensive. But they’re also beautiful, hand-made working tools, with the credibility of being used in a professional environment.”
They’re also made in Britain – all of his new products are. It’s an example, he says, of how he is learning to use his growing reputation to what he regards as good ends.
“For me the kitchenware range is an opportunity to embrace the British manufacturing that a lot of people think isn’t the anymore, when it is,” he says.
The ‘knives for life’ in particular are those any chef would be thrilled to receive. Tom’s twist is their handles. The knives are made by Samuel Staniforth, first established in 1864 one of the few remaining knife manufacturers in Sheffield.
With Tom they created a range of knives which look like nothing else. The Denim Micarta handles on the knives are unique and the material was introduced purely for Tom’s range. The material is actually made from denim that has been compressed under extreme pressure and makes for an eye-catching finish that will wear beautifully with time Micarta is the term used for the compression of layer upon layer of fibre which is combined with resin to produce a new material capable of being reshaped and is hard wearing.
At the Fenwick event, customers who spend more than £200 will be able to have a name etched on the steel to ucstomise the knife.
Tom’s Food Life
Tom’s TV credits include presenting the BBC Food and Drink show and ‘Great British Bake Off: Creme de la Creme’, Kerridge is married to the sculptor Beth Cullen.
Childhood food memory: Corned beef sandwiches with lots of English mustard whilst watching ‘The Pink Panther’ cartoon on a Saturday evening
Favourite family dish: My mum’s roast dinner
A meal that inspired you: Anything from the classic French repertoire
An inspiring drink: Coffee – the best stimulant!
Restaurant that you return to time and again: Hind’s Head in Bray – round the corner and bloody good!
Inspirational chef: Marco Pierre White
Last food you ate: Chicken kebab, cheesy coleslaw with load of Sriracha sauce
Favourite food and drink city: London
Favourite ingredient: Butter
A dish you’d pass on to your children: Slow roast shoulder of lamb
Catch up with Tom Kerridge
Tom will be at Mason + Rye in Fenwick Food Hall on Friday November 18 for a food demonstration featuring his new product rang as well as a book signing. There will be special gifts for people spending over £100 or £200.
Tickets are £30 and include fizz and canapes and is redeemable against purchases on the night. Tickets available from the Food Hall or see the Fenwick website. www.fenwick.co.uk