Tom Kerridge on the importance of cultural spaces amid the cost-of-living crisis

·3-min read

Tom Kerridge has said the cost-of-living crisis will affect the hospitality industry but feels that creating spaces for people to go out is important for “everything that is cultural”.

The Michelin star chef, 48, feels the industry is still seeing a good return of customers but that many places are suffering a “huge debt burden” due to the pandemic.

In a bid to amplify the cultural space for his diners, Kerridge has teamed up with art consultancy group West Contemporary to host a new art show within his London restaurant.

He told the PA news agency: “I think that there is an appetite for people to come out, there is an appetite to go and do things.

(West Contemporary Gallery/PA)
(West Contemporary Gallery/PA)

“You can see the West End theatres are fully booked, people are coming out, I think it’s super exciting.

“I think the cost-of-living crisis is going to be a bit of an issue, but in the reality people wanting to be part of a dining scene or going out and enjoying themselves, whether it’s into bars and restaurants and pubs or nightclubs, I think there’s an energy there.

“I think trying to create something different and energy space, all of these sort of things are very important for, I think, the inclusion of everything that is cultural.

“Pre and post-theatre eating, going out, going to galleries, all of those sort of things, they’re so important.”

Kerridge’s new project is hoping to cater to this appetite as his restaurant in central London, Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, will house the Voices in British Art: Second Edition exhibition.

The restaurant hosted the first edition in 2020, with the second instalment to feature the work of acclaimed artists including Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn and Gavin Turk.

Kerridge said he feels that bringing art into the restaurant sphere can help “demystify” preconceptions about the art world for those who are not involved in it.

He added: “I think gallery spaces really do help you focus on that piece of art and really get into the depth. The skill set of the artists, the person.

(West Contemporary Gallery/PA)
(West Contemporary Gallery/PA)

“And that’s where gallery spaces are amazing for that, they are incredible. But they’re also not necessarily massively inclusive for a bigger mass, you have to want to be in the art world to then have to go and visit.

“So that’s one of the problems with it, that it means not many people just wandering off the streets to go immerse themselves into an art gallery.”

The chef, who has appeared on cooking shows including Great British Menu, MasterChef and Saturday Kitchen, said he feels the industry is in a “relatively strong position in terms of people coming back”.

However, he admitted there is a debt burden due to the pandemic hanging over the industry and that he feels the Government does need to offer more support.

Kerridge said: “It does need to look at building a ministry for the hospitality, it does need to look at having a minister of hospitality.

“And I think short term, it really does need to look at those VAT rates in terms of business survival.”

– Kerridge’s Bar & Grill and West Contemporary present Voices in British Art Volume 2 from July 27 to September 30 2022 at Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, London.

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