Usually found at Kerridge’s Bar & Grill or Kerridge's Garden Grill, Nick Beardshaw gives us a glimpse behind the kitchen doors. As head chef, his career to date is an inspiration for anyone with culinary ambitions, and, with doors reopening fully on 17 May, now’s the perfect time to experience the pig’s cheek pie and buzzing atmosphere he’s created.
As a member of the opening team at Kerridge’s, what have been your highlights?
My biggest highlight was seeing the restaurant open for the first time. Having gone through the whole process and with the huge effort it to get open, seeing the result and it being such an amazing space was very rewarding.
How have you adapted this past year, while you’ve not been able to be in the kitchen?
I have a young daughter so helping to look after her has filled most of my time! It has been wonderful to spend extra time with her and my wife despite the obvious challenges we have all faced. I have also been helping Tom [Kerridge] with several other projects for the group so had plenty to keep me occupied.
Can you share a little bit about your career so far?
I started cooking in my local village pub and fell in love with hospitality. I then worked at The Castle in Taunton in 2007 before moving to Midsummerhouse in 2009, and then to The Hand and Flowers in 2010. I then opened The Coach in Marlow in 2014, winning a Michelin Star in 2017. I then opened Kerridges in December 2018.
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
The industry is so creative and is constantly growing and evolving which means there is something exciting happening. Whether it’s new openings, new food techniques or philosophies it’s this ever-changing landscape that makes it so exciting.
…and the most surprising?
Having worked in the industry for quite a few years there is not so much that is surprising any more! However on a day to day basis it’s always good to expect the unexpected as in busy restaurants there are always issues to deal with.
What’s inspiring you food-wise at the moment?
With everywhere having been closed for the last few months it’s mainly been books that have been providing inspiration. The book I have most recently bought and been reading is The French Laundry, Per Se and is another incredible homage to an amazing restaurant.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?
Probably something to do with illustration or animation. I would probably had gone into it if I had not found the hospitality industry.
Do you have a stand-out memory of working at Kerridge’s?
My stand out memory of working at Kerridge's will be of the buzz of a full restaurant. When it’s really pumping, with a full bar and restaurant, it has a phenomenal energy and really is a special place.
What’s your favourite thing on the menu?
Pig’s cheek pie! We have slowly refined and perfected this over the last couple of years and it is a perfect main course.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in restaurants?
Be passionate, committed, persistent and patient. You must have a thick skin to survive and know that you will make many mistakes along the way, but if you keep picking yourself up and learning from them you will have a good chance of being great.
Book your table at Kerridge's Garden Grill here