Every day, we hear stories of the collapse of the social structure and increases in crime. Could the roots of this be in the loss of a sense of unity? Food and family go hand in hand, just sitting around a table enjoying the meal and the company.

We?re all in such a rush these days, and far too often, the last thing that we want to do when we get home is cook. So it?s either a microwave meal or a takeaway. This ready meal culture is wrong, so don?t accept it make the effort. Try to cook at least a couple of times during the week. I?m not asking you to produce a feast, just a salad, soup, a casserole or just some simply grilled fish.

It still shocks me how many people cannot cook for themselves, let alone for a whole group. Giving time to friends and family is special, but giving them great food is guaranteed to put a smile on anyone?s face. Getting people around a table to share food in any shape or form be it a bowl of soup, a slice of homemade cake or a Sunday roast brings a sense of security, unity and love. I know that it?s not possible to cook every day and I?m not asking you to. But just think of the reasons why we cook and how it can give you a wonderful sense of pride and contentment.

I recall messing around in the kitchen as a child, eating many things that I should?ve left alone and sticking my fingers in too many pies. Food was treated with respect, and I was made aware that my mother had made the effort and I should always try something even if I hated it. There was one meal I?ll always remember we were staying with a friend of my mother?s, and my brothers and I were made to eat the most disgusting steak and kidney pie. The pastry was black, the steak was tough and the kidneys smelt like a horse?s yard. We tried to eat it, but most of it went into our pockets until they were full. But it didn?t matter we laughed about it anyway.

One of the many things that I wanted to create at Tom?s Kitchen was a real family feel. The strongest way of getting this across to my staff was to ask them what they remember of their childhoods and for everyone it was a time of sharing food around a table and feeling safe and loved.

The things we all like to share are a great roast on Sunday or a slice of cake and a cup of tea. The cake wins this time, as your children will love to eat the raw cake mix. Find out what?s cooking at Tom?s restaurants at www.tomaikens.co.uk