Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge has defended selling fish and chips for £32.50 at his London restaurant, saying he uses ‘incredibly expensive potatoes’ and fresh turbot.
The celebrity chef, 46, said the price of the classic dish at his Bar and Grill restaurant near Trafalgar Square was ‘easy justifiable’ because he only used the ‘finest’ ingredients.
He said: ‘It’s very easy for journalists to say it’s just fish and chips and that’s very easy to compare with frozen fish that’s been at sea for six months in a shipping container which is cut into blocks and served in a really bad chippy somewhere.’
The celebrity chef, 46, (left, file photo) said the price of the classic dish (right) at his Bar and Grill restaurant near Trafalgar Square was ‘easy justifiable’ because he only used the ‘finest’ ingredients
Kerridge, who was speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, said the price of the fish and chips is ‘set exactly as we do for everything else’.
‘The difference is this was fresh turbot. Turbot is very expensive so if you do have turbot and the chips were made into mash, so if you had beautifully buttery mash with just pan roast turbot, and you sold it as roast turbot on sauce gribiche for £32.50, which is the cost it should be, no one would question anything.
‘The chips are incredibly expensive potatoes and each one is cut individually.
‘The fact it’s sold as fish and chips, it’s an easy one from a journalistic point of view to make it into something that’s quite controversial.
‘However, when you break it down into the value of the piece of fish and actually think about what it is, it’s easily justifiable.
‘I actually think fish and chips is one of the best dishes in the world. Why can’t we get the best fish in the world, create the best batter and try and serve with amazing potatoes?
‘We’ve just deemed fish and chips as this cheap product but the cooking process is something very different.’
Speaking at the event, Kerridge also urged domestic cooks to have a microwave to cut down on food waste and ensure leftovers can be reheated.
He told how culinary snobs should rethink their views of the devices, first popular in the 1980s and 1990s, which he believes are ‘great’.
‘Microwaves are really good. There was a period 15, 20 years ago, when they were frowned upon and are even still.
‘But I would not bad mouth a microwave at all. I think they’re great.’
Kerridge, who was speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, said the price of the fish and chips is ‘set exactly as we do for everything else’. Pictured: The Corinthia, which houses his bar and grill restaurant
Kerridge, who has two Michelin stars for his gastropub in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, said that while microwaves should not be used to cook meals from scratch, they are very useful.
He said: ‘To cook stuff straight, you don’t do in a microwave, but from a reheat point of view….
‘If you’ve made a recipe and you haven’t eaten it all and you make a lovely curry, it’s easy to microwave the next day (to) save on waste – waste’s a big thing.’
Mr Kerridge also told how using packet stock cubes – rather than spending hours producing your own chicken stock – was nothing to be ashamed of.
He confessed he has never made chicken stock at home, adding: ‘Chicken stock takes eight hours. If you’ve done a roast chicken and have the carcass there, I get it. Then make a stock with it.
‘But there’s plenty of shop-bought ones. They’re just seasonings. One hundred per cent, I’ve never made chicken stock at home. Why would I? I’ve got four restaurants. I’d go round there and steal it.
‘The reality is, I will use a crumbly stock cube. I really haven’t a problem with that, I really haven’t.’
Mr Kerridge also admitted he is not always a great domestic chef at the home he shares with his artist wife, Beth, and their toddler son, Acey.
He said: ‘I’m really rubbish at doing toast. My son Acey, I did him toast the other morning. I did set the fire alarm off.
‘Beth, my wife, was out. I did it under the grill, right, forgot about it. We’ve all done that. Then Beth pointed out we actually have a toaster and I didn’t know. It shows how often I cook at home.’
He revealed his taste for very simple snacks, such as cheese on toast with ‘loads’ of Worcestershire Sauce, to keep him going after late finishes at work.
He said: ‘I like it grilled until it’s almost caramelised on the top and the cheese is burnt. You have to leave it to go cold a little bit then it’s really crispy and chewy. That’s amazing.’