Tom meets his eight volunteer families for the first time and introduces them to the six-step plan he wants them to follow for the next 12 weeks. They all want to make a fresh start with food because time pressure, fussiness or lack of confidence in cooking have contributed to an over reliance on convenience food. Tom believes there is a better way to live and as a husband, dad and chef who loves good food, he is the perfect mentor for his gang of fresh starters.
The first step of his plan is to simply get the families cooking more. Tom wants them to dust off their neglected pots and pans and start cook meals from scratch. To spur them on, he presents all the families with a goody box containing a starter pack of easy recipes and the ingredients for sausage and mash – a Tom Kerridge favourite. Instead of traditional mash, Tom’s recipe uses sweet potato and swede. Chris and Kerry, arguably the least experienced cooks in the group, struggle a bit with the instructions, but eventually sit down to the first meal they have cooked together in 15 years.
Tom loves nothing more than a family get-together around a table of tasty, home-cooked food. He believes this brings families closer together and can make us healthier and happier families. This week Tom, his wife Beth and their son Acey have invited Tom’s mum Jackie and her friend Gwyn over for a Sunday lunch of Greek-style roast lamb with roast potatoes and salad. Talk soon turns to how Tom fell in love with cooking and the first meals he ever cooked for the two most important women in his life.
Tom Kerridge’s Fresh Start episode 1 – Get Cooking
Tom visits Emma and Abii, a couple who rely on pre-prepared meals and takeaways, not only to feed themselves but also their baby daughter Elsie. They want to set a better example to Elsie but don’t know where to start. Tom teaches them how to cook a simple red pepper pasta sauce – a quicker, cheaper and healthier alternative to the convenience food they were eating before. It is a hit with the whole family and fun to make.
Tom drops in on another of his gang to help kick-start her home-cooking revolution. Nicola was never taught to cook when she was growing up and family food these days is made of ready meals. Nicola’s daughters, Ashleigh-Jade and Sophia, are fussy eaters and Nicola feels her family is struck in a rut of the same unhealthy diet of chicken nuggets and pizzas. As a gentle introduction to fresh ingredients and new flavours, Tom shows Nicola how to make his turkey schnitzel and coleslaw, like a giant chicken nugget with a side salad.
When Nicola makes it for the whole family, the schnitzel is a winner but the coleslaw proves something of a struggle for the girls. Tom cooks up two more amazing dishes to inspire his gang – a tomato salad packed with the Mediterranean flavours of artichokes, capers and chorizo, and Emma, Abbi and Elsie come over for a chicken and peanut stir-fry which the whole family adores. At the end of step one, the families send in their food diaries and Tom adds up how many meals they’ve all cooked from scratch compared with before the experiment began. It’s a big improvement on what went before, but Tom knows there’s a long way to go before everyone is cooking with confidence on a regular basis.