Exclusive: Tom Kerridge delights in 'comfort in chaos' as he shares rare insight into family life with wife Beth and son Acey

Tom Kerridge poking his tongue out
Tom Kerridge loves a chilled Sunday

When you watch chef Tom Kerridge on TV, you can't help but feel he's your best friend. When HELLO! was invited to chat with the food legend, I was delighted to find out he's just as personable in real life, calling me mate within the first few seconds of our chat.

I caught up with Tom ahead of his event,Pub in the Park, to find out what makes one of the UK's most famous chefs happy. The 50-year-old shared a sweet insight  into his family life with wife Beth and son, Acey, eight.

"My happiest days are the ones spent with my wife and son," he says. "Looking back on life, there are so many huge occasions, such as our wedding and the day Acey was born, and while those are amazing days, they come with heightened emotions.

Tom Kerridge with his son Acey
Tom Kerridge with his son Acey (Bircan Tulga)

"The birth of your child isn't necessarily fun, even though it's so important – and the same goes for your wedding day. They're very happy and wonderful experiences, but my happiest days are the ones I spend with my family.

"The day Acey learned to ride a bike is among my happiest. It hit me because it was a natural, unforced moment with my family. I felt warmth from inside watching him ride off."

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Tom continues that because much of his time is spent working away from his family, he treasures the simple days with them. "I'm not at home a lot, so Sunday mornings are extra special," he says.

"All week, I cannot wait for Sunday. I absolutely love it. It's normally packed with activities, from putting something in the oven first thing, to taking Acey to rugby and watching him on the pitch, before having a chat and a coffee with the other parents.

Tom Kerridge poking his tongue out
Tom Kerridge loves a chilled Sunday

"I like normal, chilled Sunday vibes that most families take for granted. That's what I find special, because I'm not there for the weekday homework and school events, so Sundays are extra special."

Tom and Acey both love go-karting, and it's on the race track that Tom says he feels happiest. "You have to give it your full attention. The rest of my day I spend thinking about other things, but when you're racing, that's the only thing on your mind, which is refreshing.

"I'm not a zen person, I find comfort in chaos and lots of noise," Tom adds.

 READ: 5 ways to make every day special – and feel instantly happier

As a huge food fan, I wondered which meal makes Tom happiest, with the Hand and Flowers owner opting for a surprisingly lowkey choice for a world-famous chef.

"A slow-cooked beef stew is my happiest meal. I like to put it in the oven first thing, at a low temperature, come back four hours later and be greeted by that lovely smell.

"A beef stew connects the family and we sit down with no distractions and talk. Spending my time with them is the best, especially when my wife tells me about her work in the art world and I can go along to her events and they're not about me.

Tom Kerridge laughing in a white tee
Tom Kerridge loves connecting with people at Pub in the Park

"I like being a person in the background and I'm very proud of everything that she's achieved. My own personal biggest achievement is building a team and saying yes to opportunities that come my way, from opening restaurants, writing books and organising Pub in the Park.

"As a chef, you're often removed from the guests - in a kitchen, you're separate from the dining room and in the television world, you're not actually there with people, while at Pub in the Park, everyone is connected together by food and music."

Pub In The Park takes place in Marlow (May), Chiswick (June), Reigate (July) and St Albans (September), visit www.pubintheparkuk.com for information and tickets.