"This is the Antiques Roadshow of food."
Food writer, author and columnist for the Mail on Sunday’s Live magazine, Tom is no stranger to giving his opinion on food and he was incredibly keen to become a Food Glorious Food judge. He says: "What I love about Food Glorious Food is that it's not like other TV shows with really skilled people doing really posh food. It's more like the Antiques Roadshow of food. It's much more English and eccentric. This is about home cooking and it doesn't matter if I'm tasting a curry, a lasagne or a shepherd's pie – all I'm looking for is the very, very best. It could be cooked by a 90-year-old granny or a six-year-old child – as long as it tastes good, that's all I care about."
Rather than eating food made by accomplished cooks, Tom has been keen to meet people who have their own specialty dish: "I like the idea that everyone has one dish they do really well. This could be the show for someone who does great roast potatoes."
Tom is a champion of using home grown food and local produce and reveals he'd like to see a nod to British cuisine in the winning meal.
He says: "I'd prefer to see people cook with British ingredients. This isn't a rarefied programme where you have to use organic; you use the best ingredients you can afford. This is about real food and the real pleasure it delivers."
Tom admits to having a long love affair with food but says he took a bit longer to get hands-on in the kitchen himself.
"‘I was quite late to cooking. I've always eaten, being a greedy pig. My mum's a good cook and my dad was a farmer but I didn't really get into cooking myself until after university. I certainly wasn't at my mother's apron strings when I was growing up – I was far too lazy."
However, Tom, who's a father of two, now prefers to while away his weekends in the kitchen. He says: "Cooking is very relaxing. There's nothing better than spending Saturday afternoon cooking with a glass of wine and Planet Rock on the radio. For everything else, I have to rush around so cooking is a pleasure."
Tom's enjoying the novelty of being on the Food Glorious Food judging panel. He says: "I like that we're not celebrities. I grew up hearing Loyd talk about food; Stacie is an encyclopedia of baking; Anne truly knows her stuff. They could have hired celeb chefs but the four of us each have our areas, this is what we do. I've been judging traditional dishes like chicken pie, fish pie and I've just tried a caul and awarded some remarkable faggots a rosette. The quality of cooking has been mind blowing."
When it comes to his role as a judge, Tom clearly knows what he wants from a dish but admits that offering feedback to would-be cooks is a challenge.
"It's difficult being nasty. The contestants might say to me 'what do you know?' And that’s fair enough, but I do know when something is under seasoned, burnt or undercooked. Sometimes it's a matter of taste. I did expect some things to be awful but that hasn't happened!"