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I'm Tom Kerridge, chef, husband and dad.
A few short years ago, I weighed in at almost 30st.
Mental, isn't it? That's at my peak.
I decided I had to do something about it.
So I cut out carbohydrates, quit the booze and hit the gym,
It worked brilliantly for me,
but it's a strict regime which isn't right for everyone,
like these struggling dieters from my neighbourhood,
whose habits and lifestyles require a different approach.
So I've set myself a challenge
to help 13 locals lose weight for good
with my calorie-controlled recipes.
It is no coincidence that the first three letters of diet are die.
The NHS recommends cutting calories is the best way to lose weight,
but low-calorie food has a poor reputation.
You punish yourself, eating, like, literally cardboard.
I want to show them and you that you can cook and eat the food you love
and lose weight too.
This is the bit that makes the dish come to life.
-And it really tastes like a big treat.
I need to be there for them to show them
how they can do it and help them along the way.
To pick them up when they're down.
-I just want to give up.
-Listen, you've done so well.
Don't give up now.
Last push, last push, last push, last push.
And encourage them to support each other too.
I reckon if lower calorie food can come packed full of flavour
and in generous portions,
people would have a much better chance of losing weight
and keeping it off for good.
The foods we turn to when we're sad or stressed
can come packed with calories,
but expecting my dieters to simply stop comfort eating isn't realistic.
They'll be miserable and give up.
So comfort food is where we should start.
So here's some of my low-calorie versions
of our comfort-food favourites.
This week, I'll be making muffins you won't find on a high street,
a lush and large lasagne, sumptuous rice pudding,
and crispy Southern-style chicken.
Who'd have thought you could eat that lot on a diet?
But first, it's time to meet my dieters.
I've invited 13 local volunteers who want to lose weight
to pop down to my pub.
Hello, mate. Good morning.
Hi, I'm good, how are you?
How we doing, chief? Nice to see you.
Hello there. Make yourself at home.
Not for a pint, but for a lower calorie breakfast -
all designed by me.
You've got some baked doughnuts, we've got some muffins,
we've got some yoghurt.
Is this like the treats before, like, the diet starts?
You may think it's all treats, but this is all low-calorie.
-No, it's not.
-It is, this is all low-calorie.
All right, guys, welcome.
All getting to know each other.
-And you've all had breakfast.
-Yes. Did it feel like diet food?
-Not at all.
See, this is brilliant! What a great start!
All of you are here because you've all decided
that you want to try and lose some weight.
OK, so, me, I've done the best part of 12st, OK,
and it's been a long journey that I've been on,
and it's embracing a lifestyle -
but the reason that I was able to stay on it
is because I improved flavour,
because it doesn't matter what you drop in your diet,
you need to make things taste wonderful.
How often have we done a calorie-controlled diet
and found the food really bland and boring?
It is no coincidence that the first three letters of diet are die.
For the next 12 weeks,
these guys are going to follow UK government guidelines
for losing weight at a safe and sustainable rate,
using my calorie-counted recipes to help them.
By putting their weight, height, and gender into an online calculator,
I've given them each a calorie limit that they need to stick to.
So, 6'4" policeman Andy gets 2,400 calories a day,
while at only 5'4", the Reverend Jenny is allowed 1,500.
If they stick to these limits,
the guidelines say that they should lose a pound or two a week.
At the end of 12 weeks, you'd have lost around about a stone,
and this is what we're going to go on.
So I'm going to provide you with 15 recipes in a starter pack
that we have for you - and then every two weeks,
you're going to get another 15 recipes.
Are we all ready for this journey?
-Yes. SHOUTS: Yes, yes, yes!
Here is the packs. Come and get your kits.
Here you are, mate. One for you.
I'm giving them a toolkit of gadgets and ingredients
to get them started
alongside their first batch of calorie-counted recipes.
All right. Packs given out, we are ready to go.
Had a quick flick through the recipes, and they look amazing.
So excited. Just want to get started now.
Tom has challenged us with a stone -
I think we can do better than that, so I'm hoping to double that.
Get a couple of stone off.
I never did a diet before, but I'm ready.
I think it's going to be a great 12 weeks,
and I do feel like change is already starting.
The hit of the lower-calorie breakfast
was my apple and raisin muffins.
It's one of the 15 recipes my dieters are starting with,
and includes a neat trick to cut back
on high-calorie fats and sugars.
Start with two Braeburn eating apples.
They're naturally sweet and won't go all mushy when cooked.
Cut them into quarters and then into dice,
all about the same size -
and in the pan, I'm going to put three tablespoons of honey.
This is a key part of the cooking.
We're going to caramelise it,
take it to this bittersweet kind of smoking point.
For all my recipes,
I've spent time thinking about cooking processes
that pack in extra flavour.
It's becoming thicker, look...
..and it's darker around the edges.
Just as it's beginning to smell like it's burnt, apples go in.
It instantly stops the cooking of the honey, and give it a stir, OK.
I'm adding one teaspoon each of Chinese five-spice and mixed spice.
Great flavours with apple.
Straight away, the room smells amazing.
You can just see the apple beginning to soften.
Turn the heat off. Leave it to one side to cool.
That's it. First part of it done.
Easy. Next, the muffin mixture.
Normally, when you make a cake or a muffin mix,
you beat together butter and sugar.
Instead of butter and sugar, we're using banana.
You'll need about 150g of banana.
That's about two small ones.
Mash them and then add two eggs.
I'm going to give that a mix together.
Add 200ml of semi-skimmed milk...
..and now for even more flavour, sesame oil.
Yes. This is a fat content,
but this is fat with an added bonus of flavour.
This toasty, nutty undertone that we've got from the caramelised honey
also matches with this toasted sesame oil.
Now, the dry ingredients.
300g of self rising flour
and one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda...
..and then one tablespoon of granulated sweetener.
Sweeteners can be extracted from plants or made from starch.
They're much lower in calories than regular sugar
and have less impact on blood sugar,
but cook just as well.
Finally, for taste and texture, 40g of raisins...
..and then simply add the wet mix to the dry mix.
You can tell that it's going to be a nice cake mix -
and the smell of that sesame oil really does come alive.
The more you move it about, the more the flavour is released.
It doesn't matter if it's a bit lumpy.
Just don't overwork the mixture.
Otherwise, the gluten will make the muffins stodgy...
..and lastly, you're going to add our lovely caramelised apples.
Stir gently to combine and spoon into 12 muffin cases.
For an indulgent finish, add a crumble topping,
a mix of one tablespoon each of oats and brown sugar.
Just a sprinkle. They'll need 20 minutes at 180 degrees in the oven.
These muffins clock in at around half the calories
of most shop-bought ones.
They're a great weapon in the battle against comfort eating.
Of the 13 dieters taking part,
there are three in particular who are real comfort eaters.
I'm helping them first, because they'll find it emotionally tough
to make changes to the way they eat.
27-year-old Louise has battled with her weight for the past seven years.
Whenever I'm unhappy
or when I'm feeling really sad or stressed,
then that's when I will binge and I will just make myself feel OK.
I enjoy it at the time, but then I think to myself,
"I shouldn't have done it."
39-year-old army wife Leigh is a busy mother of four,
and her schedule has her eating habits out of balance.
I am very much focused on the children,
so everything is kids, kids, kids, kids, kids,
and then I might not eat till, like, two o'clock
because I haven't thought about myself
and then binge, binge, binge, binge, binge.
And 36-year-old dad of twins Ozi's a big lad like me,
but at over 20st, he knows he's getting too big.
I am a comfort eater.
When I go shopping, I look at mega packs now.
The only thing that I think I'm getting happiness from is food.
I've equipped them with comfort food recipes
that pack a full-flavour punch,
but cut those all-important calories.
The recipes that I've written
I'm hoping are going to work for them,
but it's completely out of my hands.
It's in their willpower to make this work.
To see what I'm up against, I'm dropping in on Ozi first.
Once a restaurant chef, he's now a full-time stay-at-home dad.
-How are we doing, my friend?
-Come on in.
I'm here to find out about Ozi's comfort eating.
I would eat four of those.
In between breakfast and lunch?
And yeah, exactly. This biscuit bowl.
It belongs to me.
Anybody else can touch it,
but everybody knows that it's mine and it's my friend.
How long will that stay for?
To be honest, this could be gone in three days.
Easily. I would basically spoon this.
It's a chocolate spread.
And eat it like it's yoghurt?
-So that's well over 3,000 calories in that.
How long will that last you?
The other three days that I don't have biscuits, I would have this.
Ozi's comfort eating only really began in the last two years,
when he and the family made a big move.
I was born in Turkey, and lived in Czech Republic in Prague 15 years,
and recently moved to UK about two years ago.
Leaving all your social life, all your friends and family,
and coming to a new place was quite difficult.
So I don't have many friends around.
I'm comforting myself with chocolates and sweet things.
This wasn't my best friend.
This has become my best friend since I moved to UK.
That comfort eating, that's a big thing.
It evokes an emotion that I remember.
One that I go, this is quite, you know, it's quite difficult for me,
because I know exactly the space that you're in,
and I know how difficult it is.
My experience has taught me a trick or two
when it comes to finding the willpower to diet.
Think of something that you've achieved.
Think of the commitment that you gave to that.
Think of the elation when you got it,
and that feeling you'll get when you achieve this, OK.
I hope it's going to work. It's just, I'm just really...
No hope. No hope.
-It IS going to work.
-It will work.
It is, yes.
-Good luck, my friend.
Good luck, good luck.
Loneliness is a big hurdle for Ozi right now -
but I'm hoping being part of my diet group
will give him the friendship and encouragement he needs.
At home, all my dieters have their toolkits in action
and my tasty lower-calorie recipes are getting sampled.
-What are you cooking?
-I am doing the one-layer lasagne.
Can I be of assistance?
You can get the onions out of the fridge
and start frying them, if you want.
Some people are put off dieting
as they fear they'll end up going hungry -
but any comfort eater will be satisfied
with my next-super tasty dish,
as, once again, I've used a clever trick to maximise flavour.
I'm starting with lean beef mince, 800g,
but in an unconventional move,
I'm going to roast it before it goes into the sauce.
I learned this method of cooking from a young commis chef
that was working in my kitchen.
He came from an Italian family.
It just goes to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Give it 40 minutes at 180 degrees in a fan oven,
Meanwhile, the sauce.
Starting with two diced onions and four grated cloves of garlic
and a tablespoon of olive oil,
then a couple of diced carrots and celery sticks.
Next into the pan, caraway seeds.
They've got this lovely fragrant, floral, toasty smell
that comes from them.
Big powerful kick of flavour.
About a tablespoon.
Next in, tomato puree.
Let the puree cook off for a couple of minutes
to intensify its natural sugars.
Crumble in a beef stock cube for flavour,
and whack in a tin of chopped tomatoes.
Then add 700ml of liquid beef stock, chopped fresh rosemary,
a tablespoon of dried oregano and 200g of halved mushrooms.
OK, beef mince has been roasting for about 40 minutes,
and it looks a little bit like instant coffee granules,
but don't worry,
it rehydrates once it goes in the sauce -
but it has now this underlying, amazing roasted beef flavour.
Season the sauce and simmer for half an hour.
To reduce the calorie count compared to standard lasagne,
I'm replacing what would normally be pasta with sliced courgettes.
I'm slicing them on the angle
because it gives them just a little bit more length
which means that it'll go a little bit further.
Allow the bolognese sauce to thicken up nicely.
I'm going to pour it into the bottom of our tray
and flatten it out.
Then, quite simply, layer the courgettes on top of the beef mince.
Then, on top of the courgette,
a layer of beef tomatoes, thinly sliced.
This recipe was in the pack for my diet guys
and I know this will be one that they'll all embrace and love.
All we're doing, really, is taking the pasta out,
but flavour-wise, I'm certain that this will be an improvement
on the standard bolognese sauce that they're used to making.
Normally, for the topping,
you'd make a rich and calorie-heavy cheese sauce,
but instead of that, I'm going to use some ricotta,
put a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper
and then, with a spoon,
just going to beat it together till it's smooth,
and then just dollop the ricotta onto the top.
Ricotta is a lower fat sheep's cheese,
and here I'm using 250g.
Do you know what? If I hadn't been a chef,
I might have been an all-right plasterer.
Then on top of that, a ball of mozzarella, grated to go further.
On top of that, I'm going to put
about a tablespoon of dried Parmesan.
That, my friends, is going to be beautiful in 35 minutes.
In fact, do you know what? It's beautiful now -
it's going to be even more beautifuller in 35 minutes.
Is "beautifuller" a word?!
Just look at that. How amazing does that look?
This dish serves six,
but there's plenty of it and I reckon it would stretch to eight.
It is so good, it's so tasty.
This is a winning dish.
It's the kind of thing a busy mum or dad can knock up
and keep in the freezer -
but remember to adjust the seasoning when cooking for kids.
It's a perfect dish for busy mum-of-four and army wife Leigh.
Keen to make sure she starts on the right track,
I'm meeting up for a chat about healthy shopping choices.
So, talk to me - what is your food weaknesses?
Where does it go wrong?
So this is where it all goes wrong.
This is where it all goes wrong?
Well, it's just there.
The weight gain started many moons ago
when I got quite poorly with asthma,
so I had to be on steroids.
Then having children,
every child I've had, I've put on at least a stone.
-Sometimes you don't have to be hungry, do you?
So it's a comfort thing?
Kind of a comfort.
It's just there. You can have it on the run.
You can pick it up anywhere.
You can pick apples up anywhere.
I think I've hidden for a lot of years behind the children
and I am a very confident Mummy, but I'm not a very confident Leigh.
It really does hurt deep down,
it makes me really upset because it's not,
you know, it's not what I want the girls to see,
it's not how I want to be.
When do you eat? Do you have three set meals?
Do you get up to have breakfast, then have lunch?
No, breakfast is a real no-go area.
I'll get to, like, two o'clock and I think,
"I've not eaten anything," and then I'm starving.
It's kind of the bit that's missing from the family.
I mean, I just think I'm this big, horrible, wobbly something.
If I could get me sorted, I would be so much happier.
I'm just unhealthily heavy now.
So we know how to change this,
it's just a case of getting in the routine.
-Well, I'll have breakfast.
-Something that can get me through till lunchtime.
-You know where you're going wrong.
-One of the recipes I've handed out, which Leigh is keen to try,
is a delicious lower-calorie rice pudding.
On your rice pudding list, you are going to need, not double cream,
definitely not extra-thick double cream, single cream is an option.
-But even better than that, this stuff here.
-There is another alternative as well and it's a soya-based one.
All of this is going to be a part of the game that you're picking up,
learning the numbers and understanding the little bits -
but flavour-wise, it's no different.
You need sugar in a rice pudding.
You need a sweetener, you need something that tastes nice,
-something that's in it.
-But we don't want sugar-sugar,
because that's high in calories.
-You want the alternative, you want a sweetener.
Now, there's plenty of choices here.
A granulated one, that's pretty much the one you want
because you can cook with it the same.
-See how many calories are in that?
Two for a teaspoon.
Two in a teaspoon.
Great. Stick it in your pot, let's go.
-No looking at the cakes, the doughnuts, the biscuits,
the nightmare stuff, all right. OK. Keep looking the other way.
-Yeah, I'm looking the other way.
-Look this way, look this way,
look this way!
Rice pudding is a creamy,
sweet, classic comfort food,
especially when you throw in some fresh raspberries
and my extra special ingredient.
Once again, I'm using a little extra cooking process
to pack in more flavour.
Start with 200g of pudding rice.
I've toasted it in the oven for around about 20 to 25 minutes,
and that gives it a kind of nutty flavour,
a lovely little bit of texture.
It goes into a saucepan.
Then on top of that, I'm going to pour 800ml of skimmed milk, OK?
Some people find skimmed too watery for use on cereals or in drinks,
but rice gives this dish a creamy texture and the skimmed milk,
with just 0.1% fat, is worth opting for.
In goes four teaspoons of the granulated sweetener
I showed Leigh earlier.
Now a fresh vanilla pod.
Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod
and add both to the pan with a quarter teaspoon of cardamom.
Heat goes on. Bring the whole lot to the simmer and cook for 30 minutes,
Now that extra special ingredient.
Rose water. This is very powerful and pungent stuff, six, seven drops.
That's all you need and, trust me, it makes all the difference.
Now for luxury with fewer calories,
I'm adding 60ml of the single cream replacement
we saw in the supermarket.
Lastly, another flavour kick, but some acidity level.
Now raspberries go really well with rose water,
they're a marriage made in heaven.
If you gently stir it around,
the raspberry begins to break down a little bit
and you end up with this kind of like raspberry ripple effect
going through your rice pudding.
It's rich, it's indulgent and because it's rice and starchy,
it's very filling.
On top of that, some dried rose petals
and then a couple of those raspberries -
and that, for me, is just a dessert.
It's not a diet dessert, it's just a dessert,
and a lush one, at that.
It's the kind of delicious dish I'm hoping will help all my dieters,
but especially self-confessed comfort eaters like Louise.
Brioche is something that I could eat all day.
I quite often stick them in the microwave, as well.
This would normally be when I'm bored
or I have just not got much to do,
then I'll have a quick brioche.
It normally goes straight in, yeah.
My relationship with food,
when I was younger, it was OK,
and then I fell pregnant when I was 19,
but, unfortunately, it just didn't pan out the way we expected.
Just before Hayden was due, his dad passed away.
He just misled his steps one evening and fell off the balcony.
It was ten storeys high...
..and just didn't recover.
Hayden was here within a week, and that was it.
It was something that I'd never expected
I'd have to go through at 19.
Food was my way to sort of comfort.
I just sat at home and eat.
Eight years on, Louise is now married with two more children,
but she still finds comfort in food throughout the day.
It's also a problem in the evenings,
working behind the bar in the local pub.
You've got the nuts and the nibbles and the crisps.
If there's a little nudge or somebody going,
"Oh, come on, it's only one drink"
or "Come on, we can only have this,"
and then I suddenly think, "Yeah, why not?"
I know from experience how hard it can be to resist temptation
when you work in a pub.
I'm ashamed to say that before I quit booze,
I'd put away 15 pints of lager some days,
and it makes me shudder to think about that now.
-How are you?
-I'm good, how are you?
I'm good, thank you. You have a smile on your face.
How are you doing? Are you getting on OK?
Yeah, not bad, not bad.
So how are you finding the recipes, cooking them yourself?
Are you actually enjoying it?
Yeah, I'm loving it.
It's flavours that I've never thought to put in something before.
So it works really well,
I'm learning something new every time I cook a different dish.
What's it like at work?
-Are they helping?
They try. SHE LAUGHS
They try. No, there's a few staff members that are sort of,
at the end of the night, still offer me a drink,
or, "Do you want a snack?"
"Come on, let's have a drink, just one drink."
So it's the temptation of being able to not drink it,
and I've managed it.
Well done for turning it down and not taking it.
Your social life doesn't have to change,
but your outlook to social situations does change,
but that's because it has to,
because the outlook that you had in the first place
gets us into the situation where we are overweight and are unhealthy,
but personality-wise, it doesn't change you at all.
To help Louise stay on course,
I'm rolling out another comfort food,
something most people might think is a real diet no-no,
Southern-style chicken -
but my version is baked instead of fried,
although still comes with a delicious crispy coating.
Now I need skinless chicken thighs, bone removed.
One of the biggest things that I missed on a diet was texture,
crispiness from deep frying or richness from oils.
So cooking the chicken like this
will help to keep it nice and crispy on the outside,
and make it feel like you're missing nothing texturally.
I'm marinating the chicken in 200ml of buttermilk,
which is low-fat and tenderises it.
Add a teaspoon of salt
and half a teaspoon each of black pepper and onion powder.
Now this is really important, OK?
It's got this wonderful savoury kick to it,
it brings a richness and a depth to the dish.
In go the herbs, half a teaspoon of dried oregano,
sage and thyme and finally a quarter teaspoon of white pepper
and a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.
This is the bit where you get your hands messy, all right?
Start massaging all of that buttermilk and the spices,
and you can feel the chicken almost start to absorb it,
a bit like a sponge.
That buttermilk will tenderise,
but also help to flavour these lovely chicken thighs.
Marinating means four hours in the fridge,
but if you can leave it overnight, it's worth the wait.
I know we haven't got four hours, so I did these ones yesterday.
So you know that American style Southern-fried chicken flavour,
that's what we're going to give this chicken a coating in now.
To get the crispy coating that gives that awesome texture,
mixture 75g of plain flour with salt, cracked black pepper,
dried thyme, garlic salt,
and, finally, a teaspoon of smoked paprika.
You mix it together to give this dusting of flavour
and then, one by one,
dust the chicken thighs in the spice mix.
So you can see here that buttermilk is helping that flour
stick to the chicken.
That's going to make it nice and crispy and full of flavour.
Before this goes in the oven,
give a quick squirt of one-cal cooking spray,
it'll help crisp the chicken.
All the dieters have this in their tool kit
and it's easy to find in the supermarket.
Then in at a hot 240 degrees for half an hour.
Honestly, that brings a massive smile to my face.
Look at it, how lush does that look?
Wonderful bits of crispy, crunchy, where it's been baked.
Loads of flavour going on.
The smell is fantastic.
And there you have it - all the flavour of fried chicken,
but way less calories because it's baked.
I've invited Ozi and Leigh over
to road-test my crispy Southern chicken.
OK, guys, come on in, grab yourself a seat.
It smells great here.
So, Southern-fried chicken, a bit of potato salad.
Get in there.
They get three thighs per portion
and I'm serving it with a herby potato salad
made with zero-fat Greek yoghurt and a lower-fat mayonnaise.
Mm. It's so nice, so satisfying.
Touching all the buttons that you'd crave for.
Sometimes it happens that I do crave for fast-food.
You know, I just want to go through the drive-through
and get a bucket of that fried chicken
and then have it next to me and then just, like, gobble it.
There's a certain comfort in it -
but this thing is so close to that comfort,
and you can have it at home,
you don't even have to eat it in the car, which is amazing.
You could eat it in a car if you want, Ozi.
Moist in the middle, crunchy on the outside,
and it really tastes like a big treat.
Yeah, it does taste like a treat, doesn't it?
Really, really good.
It feels like you shouldn't really be allowed to have this.
High five, well done, team.
-There you go.
My dieters are now two weeks
into their three-month reduced calorie regime.
So is it having the desired effect?
They've sent me their latest weight, and there's already lots going on.
Leigh has made a storming start, losing eight pounds so far.
Louise is bang-on what I'd expect, losing three pounds in a fortnight -
and collectively, the group has lost an impressive 73 pounds -
but not everyone's made a flying start.
Ozi's actually gained a couple of pounds.
No-one said this was going to be easy,
so we all need to support him and each other in the weeks ahead.
Your time starts, 20 minutes now.
Next time, it's quick and easy recipes
for those in my gang whose busy lifestyles
have caused them to pile on the pounds.