Chef and TV star Tom Kerridge shares his passion for the landscape and food scene of Whitstable and Seasalter on the North Kent coast. Interview: Alex Reece
I first went to the North Kent coast when I was working in London about 20 years ago. My wife Beth, who was my girlfriend at the time, took me on a day out, because it was easy to get to. So we fell in love with it then and we’ve been going every single year more and more. We’re very fortunate – we own a little beach hut there now – so we get to visit a lot.
The village of Seasalter is dog-friendly, which is great for us (I’ve got a boxer and a French bulldog called Sponge and Inky). It’s not commercial and the landscape feels almost Nordic. It’s quite rural and rustic and weather-beaten. The food scene in Whitstable is phenomenal, too. There are some brilliant restaurants and high-street butchers. There’s also The Sportsman pub in Seasalter, which is arguably one of the best places to eat in the country.
I love traditional seaside towns, like Margate and Southend. There’s something very British and nostalgic about them. Growing up in the West Country, we used to go to Weston-Super-Mare all the time. I have great childhood memories of donkey rides and the big sandy beach. I remember thinking it was the best place ever.
Winter or summer – both are amazing in North Kent. The wintertime is fantastic, because you can light the log fire, put the kettle on and have a cup of tea while watching the wind blow in. During the summer, you’re outside with the barbecue going and friends over, chilling out.
In terms of what I like to eat when I go there, very little has changed since I devised the Dopamine Diet. Basically, I just don’t do the carbohydrates. So the barbecue in the summertime is perfect for that – I bring a load of meat from work and we spend the whole time grilling and cooking things. My definition of the diet is simply: low carb, high flavour.
Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet is out now (£20, Absolute Press).