Tom Kerridge helps local dieters lose weight for good. Tom turns the spotlight on dieters who say they are too busy or inexperienced to cook healthy meals at home.
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I'm Tom Kerridge - chef, husband and dad.
A few short years ago, I weighed in at almost 30 stone.
-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,
losing 12 stone.
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.
Last time, my diet gang got together
to start their weight loss adventure.
Are we all ready for this journey?
-Yes, yes, yes!
I handed out cooks' toolkits
and their first batch of calorie-counted recipes...
..designed to help out the comfort eaters in particular.
-I hope it's going to work.
-Don't hope. It is.
They will. It is, yes.
And collectively, the group lost an
impressive 73lbs in the first fortnight.
This time, I'm targeting people in
the group whose busy lives get in the
way of the diets that they try
and those that lack confidence in the kitchen.
So I'm cooking a bunch of quick and easy recipes -
a Chinese-style sea bass in a bag, a dieter's cheap pizza,
a family breakfast of Cajun scrambled eggs,
plus a simple-to-make but lush French apple tart.
But I'm starting with an ingredient that's perfect for an easy midweek
meal. Pasta, everybody's favourite.
It's high in carbohydrates, can you have it on a low-calorie diet?
Yes, you can. Pasta's not that high
in calories and it contains essential
fibre. The problem usually lies with the sauce.
My version of the creamy pasta carbonara is lower in calories,
cooks in just ten minutes and packs a real flavour punch.
First thing, pasta goes into a pan of boiling salted water.
This dish serves two,
so I'm going for 175 grams of a favourite of mine.
Lumache rigata. It translates into English as grooved snail.
This one in particular is great for holding sauce and mixing with a pan
full of flavour that we're going to have here.
If you can't find the snails, no bother.
Penne or fusilli will work just as well.
Sweat down one onion in a single teaspoon of olive oil.
I'm not looking for too much colour on them. I just want to soften them.
A little tip is putting a pinch of salt in there.
That salting process draws a bit of moisture from the onions,
softens them slightly, means that you haven't got to add any more oil.
Then to that I'm going to add three pieces of Parma ham.
I'm just going to tear it up.
It's quite lean. It's very thin. I mean,
you can see through it pretty much,
but in terms of flavour where it's been
air-dried it's absolutely amazing.
Now into the pan, two cloves of garlic.
And to that, some of these boys - salted anchovy fillets.
I know there'll be quite a few of you going,
"Urgh, I don't like anchovies."
They make a real difference.
Don't view an anchovy as a fish.
See it as just a salty flavour kick to anything that you add it to.
OK, my pasta is cooked and,
to that, I'm going to add some frozen peas.
Literally takes no time at all, OK? It's just softening them,
Strain the lot over a bowl because
we're going to need some of that cooking liquid.
The next layer of flavour comes from fresh herbs -
a handful each of flat-leaf parsley and mint, roughly chopped.
Into this, another big flavour - dried Parmesan cheese.
Two large tablespoons.
And for that carbonara creaminess,
60 millilitres of half-fat creme fraiche
to coat everything in the pan.
This has to be added right at the last minute.
Because it's low fat, it doesn't cook out very well.
It just has to go in, stir, off the heat, serve.
And then to finish it off, unwaxed lemon grated all over the top.
Less calories than a ready-meal carbonara,
loads tastier, and ready to eat in under 15 minutes.
Each of my dieters have been given a daily calorie allowance based on
their height, weight and gender.
My dishes are designed to help them stick to this and lose weight in a
safe and sustainable way.
The main focus for me right now is
on the ones who say they're too busy or
too inexperienced to cook for themselves.
45-year-old David has a
high-pressure job with an international airline.
He never cooks - something I think needs to change.
Because I don't have too much time,
doing things that are quick and easy would be massively helpful for me.
Kayleigh is 31.
The demands of running her house
often lead her to grab convenience food and go.
I used to get, like, a sandwich and a steak slice. Instead of just
having a sandwich or just a steak slice on its own, I'd, like,
have both and just have a little pig out.
And 38-year-old Sam is a nurse
specialising in wound care and her job can see
her eating erratically.
I tend to eat on the go, so it's often quick,
sugary food or something very carby.
Sandwiches, stuff you can sort of
pull in at a garage and quickly ram down your throat.
Sam's a perfect candidate for my quick and easy recipes,
but has she got enough time to cook them?
Come on in. Can I get you a drink?
Do you want a tea or coffee?
I've brought along the ingredients for my courgette fritters.
Sam doesn't know it yet, but she's going to cook our lunch.
So I'm going to give you 20 minutes to make this, all right?
Have you got the rest of those ingredients?
-Yeah. Put them all in front of you and then can work from
there. I say "we" - you.
I'm doing it all now, yeah?
-Yeah, we're doing it all now, mate!
-OK, sorry, sorry!
You're knocking up lunch.
Your time starts, 20 minutes, now.
Like most of us, Sam knows where her eating is going wrong.
I think it's not being prepared is where I slip up.
All of a sudden, I'm hungry and I just want something sweet.
When you go on the ward,
everyone offers you a biscuit or
chocolate's always available and I can never say no.
Anything I'm offered, I tend to eat.
In it goes. Then what's next?
Garlic, finely grated.
-It's up there, my toolkit.
So, in here is a small grater,
so this is perfect for grating garlic.
So the label's still on it,
the toolkit was in the cupboard, highest up.
-I haven't used anything yet.
I can see that!
Some of the patients I see are diabetic.
Often you need to get advice
regarding their diet, not to eat high-sugar foods,
not to drink the high-sugar fizzy drinks,
but then I'm actually doing it myself,
so that's quite hypocritical.
Sam wants to lose weight to be healthier,
but she also has a rather special day coming up.
At the end of the year, I'm getting married on a cruise ship
to Bobby, who proposed to me last year on a cruise ship.
Got lots of things to do like buy a
wedding dress but I'm holding off on that
for the moment until I've lost some weight.
As much as I'd like to go and try a dress on,
I'm just not happy at the minute.
I think it'd be quite a
disappointing visit if I went to try wedding
dresses on at the minute.
That's a lot easier, isn't it?
It's a lot easier than doing it with a little knife,
trying to drag it through the dill.
We're going to swap those nurse's outfits for chef whites, yeah?
Yeah, what you're having the nurse's outfit?!
-Bring that over here.
Put the pancake in. OK.
They're going to cook for three to four minutes either side, OK?
That's what my quick and easy dishes are all about.
Not much prep and just a few minutes in the pan.
No oil on the salad dressing, let's just go with lemon juice.
Then how lovely do these look?
They look amazing.
Oh, they're nice. Lovely.
All those layers of flavours, they work so well.
We could have put more chilli in.
Do you know what? You're right.
I've got 13 dieters in my group and I'm
delighted to learn that, soon after they met,
they started their own messaging group,
sharing experiences and giving each other encouragement.
This is great news because it's been shown that you are more
likely to lose weight when you diet with others.
With everyone's support and
encouragement and Tom's recipes I'm really hoping that I can
lose weight, be healthy and go and try on some wedding dresses.
With that in mind,
I've come up with a great way for Sam to avoid the need for any
My family's favourite scrambled eggs should keep all the dieters going
First thing, four eggs, crack them into a bowl.
So much of this dish comes down to the quality of ingredients.
Great free-range eggs make a big difference.
Into the eggs, whisk 75 millilitres of light single cream alternative,
get your pan on and give it a spritz with a low-calorie spray.
Then add half a diced red onion.
Each squirt of oil spray contains just one calorie -
in contrast, a tablespoon of olive oil has a whopping 120.
Then to the onions add one diced
green pepper and give them a toss about in the pan.
I'm looking for a bit of fast heat, softened around the outside,
crunchy in the middle.
Next up, handful of shredded kale.
I'm going to add it to the pan and
just slowly wilt it down with a little splash of water.
Straightaway you can see that kale
begins to go bright green, really vibrant.
Then into the pan - this is the bit that makes the dish come to life -
1½ teaspoons of Cajun spice.
This mix of garlic, chilli, allspice and thyme goes great with eggs.
And to that, I'm going to put a handful of baby spinach.
This spinach wilts down very, very quickly.
It's going to give us another layer
of texture and a wonderful, irony kind
of flavour that matches nicely with the kale.
Give the veg five or six sprays with the low-cal oil.
Turn the heat down and pour in the eggs.
I'm just going to gently stir it around.
You don't want to cook it too quickly, OK?
Wow, look. Egg.
-Can you say egg?
-That looks nice.
Very quick, nice and easy.
A healthy breakfast, perfect for sharing with your loved ones.
Right then, little man, ready for the eggs?
When I find myself craving the wrong kind of food,
one of my tricks to staying on track is to remind myself just why I want
to be a healthy weight - to be the best parent I can.
It's something I share with another of my dieters, busy mum Kayleigh.
Her seven-year-old son Kai has autism.
My son, he's quite hard work.
He suffers with parasomnia and sleep paralysis, as well,
so we're quite sleep deprived.
At 31, she's been attempting diets for the past 13 years.
When I go out with friends, I'll be like,
"Oh, I need try and find the most
"suitable thing to make me look a bit slimmer."
Put on the old granny pants and things like that.
Basically, my life has been just like a yo-yo, so it's been up,
down, up, down, up, down with my weight,
but the majority of the time it's been up rather than down.
Three weeks into this diet,
I've asked busy mum Kayleigh to join me for a leisurely stroll in the
countryside to find out why this time is going to be any different.
Do you cook for the whole family all the time?
-Yes, I do, yeah.
And have they embraced all the recipes?
They have. They've learnt from what I've be doing.
My son's been helping me.
Which is your favourite one you've cooked so far?
The vegetable tortilla.
-The green veg, yeah.
-My son really enjoyed it and
he doesn't usually eat much vegetables.
-But he ate the peas and I was so amazed and he was even shocked
himself that he ate them.
So that was great, loved it.
What's your motivation for losing this weight?
Well, basically, in December I got taken ill with diabetes.
Type one or type two diabetes?
-Type two diabetes occurs when the body has a problem with
insulin. It means glucose in the
blood isn't converted to energy and is
often associated with obesity.
So, this can be resolved through weight loss.
Yes, it can, yeah, and that's what I'm aiming to do.
I know if I don't do it I'm not
going to make it past a certain age because of my health issues.
I have diabetes, high blood pressure,
and my kidneys are playing up a bit.
I can really identify with Kayleigh's struggles.
I needed to lose weight for the same kind of reasons and I'm pleased that
Kayleigh isn't tackling this alone.
So, being part of the social media group, is it helping?
Definitely. Everyone's being so helpful on there.
It makes a big difference to be a big group of people all with the
same reason to be doing stuff.
Yeah, because we're all inspiring
each other and giving each other motivation.
Despite the demands of family life,
I'm impressed by how committed Kayleigh is.
She just needs to avoid falling back into old habits.
Taking part in something, feeling alive.
-Being able to do stuff, walk the dogs.
-Go dancing with your kids. It makes a big difference.
-Well, we're on it, mate.
-You're on it, you're on it.
Denying ourselves pleasure from food is unlikely to deliver long-term
weight loss. Far better, I think,
to find lower-calorie versions of the things we love.
And this gorgeous apple tart does just that.
Now, I've got here some low-fat puff pastry.
Now, this is about 30% less fat than standard puff pastry.
I've cut it into four rectangles and on top of the puff pastry I've put
about half a tablespoon of apricot jam onto each rectangle.
And then just push it out with about a centimetre round the edges.
Just using this small bit of apricot jam
for that sweetness and stickiness.
Core and slice two sharp green
eating apples and arrange them in a zigzag pattern.
Wandering around the streets of Paris and you see these amazing
apple tarts that are layered in this kind of rose-like fashion with
apples. I'm not expecting you to do the same as that.
But because it's so quick and easy to do,
it's really nice as a midweek pudding.
Glaze the edge of the pastry with
semi-skimmed milk and sprinkle over
a mix of two teaspoons of granulated sweetener
and half a teaspoon each of cinnamon and mace.
Give them half an hour at 200 degrees.
Instead of cream, I serve the tarts
with zero-fat Greek yoghurt mixed with
a sprinkle of chia seeds and sweetened with maple syrup.
If you prefer your chia seeds soft rather than crunchy,
leave the yoghurt in the fridge for a few hours or, better still,
overnight. Oh, my.
Look how lush, crispy they look.
Cannot wait to get into them.
Dead easy and delicious,
my easy French apple tarts prove you can enjoy a great pud
on a calorie-controlled diet.
Three weeks ago when my dieters first met, David,
the commercial director of an airline, had a confession to make.
Who doesn't cook?
-I barely cook at all.
-Barely cook at all or ever cook at all?
Ever cook at all.
David's high-flying job is very busy and at times stressful
but, to take control of his diet,
I think he needs to get in the
kitchen once in a while, so I'm paying him a
visit to talk him through my lower-calorie chicken casserole.
Tom has already been inspiring for me in terms of some of the tips that
-he's given us.
-Hi, I'm Jo.
-This is my wife, Jo.
David's married to Jo and they've got two kids.
Jo's always done most of our cooking.
Jo, mate, go and watch a bit of telly.
Me and Dave are going to get on cooking.
Right, then, Dave, let's go.
For me, what's most important as a bit of a novice cook is that the
instructions are fairly straightforward
and easy to understand.
Stop. Turn it so the knife is coming to you like that,
and then you can just peel that outer skin away, OK?
It's quite a foreign implement to you, I can tell.
-It is, yeah.
-Tell me about yourself.
How have we got to being to the point where you're unhappy and you
-want to lose weight?
-I played a lot
of sport in around my teens and 20s.
You know, you get to the stage where you decide to give that up.
Work-wise, you mean career?
Well, work plus the old body doesn't keep doing the things you'd like to
do on the rugby pitch. I work very hard.
Whenever I come home, I just eat far too much of the wrong stuff.
The result was that I put on quite a lot of weight,
and gradually over the years that's continued to accumulate.
I currently weigh 23 stone.
I'm massive. I worry about my health constantly.
I worry about a heart attack, I worry about a stroke.
I want to live a long and healthy life
and I can't do that if I remain the weight that I'm at.
The last time I did this much cooking
was actually in the Scouts, Tom.
Actually, I don't think toasting
marshmallows on a stick counts as cooking!
My hope is that by getting Dave cooking more,
he'll connect with food on a whole new level.
So what we need to try and do is get you into a system of understanding
what you're eating.
Cooking something is great because you get that heart and soul and you
put the effort into making it.
That's where it's going to caramelise
and give this beautiful colour and
wonderful flavour that will run through the whole of the casserole.
I'm actually really looking forward to the opportunity to cook a little
bit more and to learn.
Fresh herbs taste amazing.
And then on top of that, put the chicken back.
No bother and this is the sort of
dish you could do tonight but you have
-for tomorrow's tea.
We're going to put it into the preheated oven, 180 degrees,
-for about an hour.
-Casserole is in.
-It smells so good.
This is going to taste banging.
Fist pump. Yes!
Chief, good luck.
See you later, guys. Not long after I leave...
Wow! Yeah, I'm actually quite impressed with that.
-That looks lovely.
-It's time for Jo and the kids to experience Dave's
first-ever home-cooked family dinner.
Unbelievable. I actually really quite like that.
I can see with the cooking, that
actually gives you control of yourself.
You can't help but love what you've actually created for yourself to eat
of an evening because I'm actually
involved in the process of creating it.
Here's to many more Dad dinners.
Here's to many more Dad dinners.
That was proper cooking from Dave,
but my next recipe, easy pizza, well,
it's like cheating. There's barely any cooking at all.
I'm using a clever trick with the pizza base that helps bring down the
I have here two flour tortillas that I've just baked in the
oven to make them crispy but no colour.
Five minutes at 150 degrees is all they need.
Now for the toppings.
First, the tomato sauce.
In here we've got 180 grams of
tinned chopped tomatoes and into that I'm
going to add one tablespoon of tomato puree,
some freshly chopped oregano,
one clove of garlic, grated, and just mix it all together.
And with your spoon, just spread it out on top of our crispy tortillas.
Don't spread it out too far.
Make sure you've got a nice thin border of that tortilla.
On top of that, add a few black olives, some capers,
and a handful of sun-blushed tomatoes - all big, punchy flavours.
I'm using up the leftover Parma ham from the pasta I made earlier.
And then on top of that, some sliced Italian Milano Salami.
I'm just going to use four slices, cut in half.
Then add some sliced courgette,
mushrooms, and three chopped anchovies.
Now, a pizza wouldn't be a pizza without a cheese topping.
This is half-fat mozzarella, so I'm just going to grate it on the top
because grating it means that goes a lot further.
So about 100 grams of mozzarella for both pizzas.
Finally, sprinkle about a tablespoon of dried Parmesan on top
and bake for ten to 12 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees.
Oh, look at that.
It's still really nice and crispy.
I'm just going to finish it with a couple of fresh leaves on the top,
basil, and a little bit of rocket.
When you need something fast, this flavour bomb won't let you down.
Feel free to swap toppings, but don't forget to tot up the calories.
We're now one month into the diet
experiment and I want to find out how my
busiest dieters are getting on, so I've invited Dave,
Kayleigh and Sam over for the
healthiest and tastiest fish supper you'll find wrapped in paper.
It's quick, easy and delicious.
Chinese-style sea bass.
DOORBELL RINGS That'll be them.
This is a straightforward dish,
but impressive enough for a dinner party.
Right, I'm going to show you a dead simple,
really easy, and nice and quick recipe for cooking fish in a bag.
And the reason we cook it in a bag is because it steams it,
cooks it really nicely, and keeps all the flavours together.
Right, first thing, six tablespoons of soy sauce,
and mixed in with that, Shaoxing wine.
This is a rice wine.
Where would you go to get that?
You can get it from supermarkets, but sherry works equally as well.
-Oh, I've got that.
-You've got that, yeah!
OK, as that's coming to the boil,
I've got around about 20 cloves of Sichuan pepper.
Have a little smell of that.
That's amazing, the smell.
Incredible, isn't it? Really fragrant, really rosy-like.
So just crushing that a little bit
with the pestle and mortar, so then that goes into the pan.
Turn on the heat, add a couple of
tablespoons of water and bring it up to a simmer.
Now, to get the consistency of ketchup,
mix together a tablespoon of
cornflour and a tablespoon of water into a paste.
We're just going to pour it into our soy Shaoxing wine and the cornflour
acts as a thickening agent.
To go with it, we're going to need some ginger,
and some chilli.
OK, so to go in the bag, bok choy, Pak Choi.
I'm going to cut the bok choy in half.
What is that you're wrapping them in, is that just brown paper?
Yeah, it's grease-proof paper.
OK, so grease-proof paper.
And then the broccoli, I'm just going to kind of build a bed.
And for a healthy crunch, a handful of bean sprouts.
And then on top of that little
package you put the sea bass, OK?
And some of the ginger,
some of the sliced garlic,
just a little bit of the chilli, and a spoonful of our big,
flavoursome ketchup, OK?
And then I'm going to make it into a bag, all right, so are you watching?
Pinch it together...
..fold it into itself, and then tuck it back on itself, because then the
weight of the fish and vegetables seals it at the bottom.
I'm just going to sit it on the tray like that ready for baking.
Yes, there's a bit of prep involved, but it's easy.
Skin faced up.
I reckon even a newbie could have this on the table in 30 minutes.
Come on, reach over, guys, don't be polite.
That's it, all of that on there.
Get it on there. Lovely.
That's it, perfect.
We're going to stick them in the oven, 200 degrees centigrade,
18 to 20 minutes.
What can we do for 18 minutes?
Clear up, mate! Washing-up, that's what we do for 18 to 20 minutes!
Here we go, guys.
One each. OK, open the bags, mates.
How lovely does that look?
-It smells amazing.
There you go, Jasmine rice, OK?
Half of that each.
Packed with flavour, this whole
delicious meal comes in at 550 calories.
-It's great, isn't it?
Yeah, that's really good.
That is beautiful. That is so...
It's really, really nice.
It's quite easy for us to go and
grab a convenience meal in a microwave,
stick it in there and cook it in it,
but there's loads of calories in that if we're not careful.
Here, we have calorie counted, we know how much is in there.
We are in complete control of what we're eating here.
I really, 100% believe that this is my new life.
My dieters have now had four weeks testing my recipes and cutting
down their calories.
But are they seeing a drop on the bathroom scales?
The gang as a whole has had another great fortnight, losing 62lbs more.
Ozzie, the only person who put weight on last time,
is now heading in the right direction.
He's lost 5lbs in the last two weeks.
Busy nurse and bride-to-be Sam has lost 9lbs so far.
At this rate, she'll be trying on her wedding dress in no time.
And Kayleigh has done amazingly well, losing 11lbs in four weeks.
There's a long way to go,
but it's a big step towards getting her diabetes under control.
And what about novice cook David?
At 23 stone, he started off at the heaviest in the group,
but that could all be about to change
because he's already lost 1½ stone.
I cooked this salmon without any support at all,
so the training wheels were well and truly off last night.
I feel like I'm on a mission. I really do.
Next time, I set out to help the
foodies and restaurant regulars in the group...
Don't look at me, you've got to do it!
..with diet recipes that still feel very much like special treats.
-Let's high five that.
-Oh, my God!
-That is amazing!
Chef Tom Kerridge, who famously lost 12 stone over the last few years, has set himself an ambitious challenge - to help a group of struggling dieters from his neighbourhood to lose weight. Over 12 weeks, Tom is giving them delicious, calorie-counted recipes to try at home, while helping them to make the emotional and practical changes to their eating habits which will bring about lasting weight loss. Tom knows that denying ourselves pleasure from food won't deliver long-term results. We get fed up and then we give up. Far better, he believes, is to cook and eat lower-calorie recipes which are satisfying and full of flavour. And as both a Michelin-starred chef and someone who has struggled with, and is conquering, his own weight issues, there is no better mentor.
Last time, Tom's gang of calorie-counting dieters got off to a flying start. Between them they lost 73 pounds in the first fortnight. This time, Tom is turning the spotlight on the dieters in the group who say they are too busy, or too inexperienced, to cook healthy meals at home. Tom is convinced that his quick and easy recipes - along with his support and encouragement - will change that.
His recipes include a family breakfast of Cajun scrambled eggs, a dieter's 'cheat pizza', a pea and ham pasta that is on the table in under 15 minutes and a really simple lower-calorie French apple tart. The 13 dieters in his group are beginning to build a strong support network. At the heart of this is a social-messaging group they have set up to share tips and give each other advice. Tom is delighted by this as he thinks they are more likely to lose weight supporting each other, especially if this were to carry on after the experiment is over.