Tom Kerridge’s cooking skills combine with Marcus Rashford’s star power to create a delicious effect in Full Time Meals, which aim to keep making family dining better
Tom Kerridge was a hungry teenager long before he became a top chef. After playing rugby matches over the weekend, his mother, who had two jobs to keep the family afloat, always kept a Sunday roast for him and his brother.
“My brother is six feet tall. So yeah we were two big Gloucester lumps [but] She was always there for us, always trying to make sure we had what we needed, ”Kerridge recalls.
He has achieved television fame and culinary success from his early days in a council estate (his Marlow restaurant has two Michelin stars), but memories of his childhood cooking remain fresh – as his new, youth-focused cooking campaign clearly shows.
Kerridge has teamed up with Manchester United and English soccer star Marcus Rashford to launch Full Time Meals, a 12-month series of cooking videos that is posted weekly to Instagram and Facebook.
The initiative grew out of Rashford’s pioneering work to tackle child poverty – a condition that is currently estimated to affect more than 4.2 million children across the UK.
Kerridge has developed a total of 53 recipes, all of which focus on affordability. For example, he’s a fan of frozen vegetables. “Fun”, “delicious”, “quick”, “easy” and “assignable” are other important descriptions that he uses for the full-time menu, which ranges from classics such as chicken pie to ham and pea risotto (“a 1 pound miracles ”to more eccentric inventions like crushed peas on toast and hot dog noodles.
Full Time Meals grew out of Marcus Rashford’s work to combat child poverty. Image Oleg Bkhambri
Culinary creativity is one of the lessons Kerridge’s mother passed on. On a Sunday, her household budget was rarely enough for a leg of lamb or roast beef, so she cooks sausage meat instead.
“She always did extra because she knew that we would show up from the property with other children,” he recalls. “If we didn’t come back with anyone, there would be bubbles and squeaks the next day.”
The same thought explains Kerridge’s enthusiasm for preparing meals from leftovers from the refrigerator. This is exactly why he’s a huge fan of American-style toasties. Two quick tips: rub everything (“it expands a lot”) and add a piece of cheese (“it ties everything together”).
If you’ve helped 100,000 people make a tea that they normally wouldn’t, then that’s massive
He recognizes that millions of children may only get one good meal a day, so ideally, the recipes for full-time meals need to be as filling and nutritious as possible. But it’s just as important to identify recipes that children “actually want to eat,” he says.
Step in front of the fish finger sandwich. A staple of Kerridge’s after-school repertoire of making tea for his younger brother (“they fit perfectly in a square piece of bread”), this childhood favorite was recently featured in a guest video by Louis Tomlinson of One Direction. The short film received 1.7 million views on Instagram.
Kerridge notes, “Okay, some of them just watch because they’re 1D fans, but actually, you know, if you’ve helped 100,000 people make a tea that they normally wouldn’t, that’s huge. “
Bringing a star quotient into the campaign partly explains its success. In this format, Kerridge posts a video every Sunday, followed by a clip on Monday, in which a celebrity prepares the same dish.
Celebrities who have managed to copy Kerridge’s super-easy recipes so far include Russell Brand, YouTuber Mark Hoyle (AKA LadBaby), English midfielder Jordan Henderson and hip singer-songwriter Mae Muller.
Eating healthy on a budget is tough, Kerridge admits. As his mother’s job juggling taught him, both time and money poverty can be a major obstacle. But learning some cooking basics at an early age could make all the difference, he points out.
“It takes a little effort and energy, but you can still make a healthy pizza instead of buying a processed one, right?”
So log in, cook … and snack.
Main picture: Tom Kerridge in the kitchen of his Marlow restaurant The Hand and Flowers. Photo credit: Christian Barnett