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07th Sep 2021

Tom Kerridge defends charging £87 for sirloin steak and chips

Steve Hopkins

Tom Kerridge has three Michelin stars but people are being taken aback by the price of his steak and chips

Chef Tom Kerridge has been forced to defend food prices at his “unpretentious, proper pub” after foodies took issue with him charging £87 for a sirloin steak and chips.

The Michelin-star chef was unapologetic about the costly course, saying his prices were high because he pays his staff at the Buckinghamshire-based pub, The Hand and Flower, “properly” and treats their jobs as professional careers.

Wine expert Guy Woodward started the debate with a tweet on August 29, writing:  “Website of @handfmarlow by @ChefTomKerridge – ‘unpretentious’, ‘proper pub’, ‘for everyone to enjoy’ ‘relaxed and accessible’.

“Also @handfmarlow – steak and chips: £87; side of cabbage: £7.50; creme brûlée: £26.50. And people complain about wine list mark-ups…”

Kerridge responded by saying the prices reflected the full cost of the meal, including VAT and service, adding: “Also I pay staff properly and treat their job as a professional career. Perhaps the real cost of dining should be addressed.”

The chef concluded: “Unpretentious does not mean cheap. Also, why is profit a bad word?”

Woodward asserted that his issue “isn’t with the prices” but with the marketing that suggests it is an “‘unpretentious, proper pub’ that’s ‘accessible to everyone…’” That point resonated with another Twitter user, who wrote: “Marketing is so wrong and the cost is unreasonable. Using staff retention as an excuse for ripping off customers is just ridiculous.”

The menu at the two Michelin-starred pub also features a lamb main at £69 and a spiced venison loin at £60. All the desserts are priced at £26.50.

While Kerridge came in for a bit of a roasting, he also had plenty of support, including from a fellow chef who wrote: “This is reason why people working in hospitality get paid a s*** wage. Because people like you don’t think that a well-butchered, reared steak, treated well, cooked well, handled by more than one chef should be worth this. I’m sure Tom Kerridge has bills, rent, wages to pay for too.”

Kerridge, often replied to people in the thread making valid points, but later tweeted: “Some absolute plonkers on here.”

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