What were your influences around concept development?
Having worked in both a 3 Michelin star restaurant and Michelin star pub, I wanted to try and combine the two concepts and create a high-end pub. In regards to the style behind the pub, it dates back to the 1800 where it began as two gamekeepers cottages; it was then later transformed into a pub by a soldier who had returned from the Battle of Waterloo. I found quite a bit of memorabilia inside the pub that represents this era, which we will of course be using. The name ‘The Oxford Blue’ relates to the Royal Horse Guards, which was their nickname and later derived to simply the 'Blues'.
Did the skills shortage affect your ability to deliver the concept? If so, how?
As we are still in the process of hiring staff, we haven't found a huge issue with the shortage as other pubs and restaurants have. As quite a few chefs I have worked with over my years spent in London have chosen to come on-board and work for me.
How did you develop the menu and how long did this take?
Being very passionate about Game and also being positioned very close to the Royal Estate, my menu will be heavily influenced on game during the seasons. This in itself helped me to develop my menu, using the different techniques learnt from my time spent in other kitchens; I then began to create my dishes. For me the menu is very much an on-going development as I have hundreds of ideas I would like to try out and with the pub being closed on Mondays/ Tuesdays, I will be using these days for dish development, as it’s the only spare time I’ll have once we open!
What is your signature dish?
Braised pigs trotter stuffed with ham hock, diced root veg, bound with English mustard, served on apple carpaccio with cider infused crab apple and black pudding croquette.
Did you take food trends into account, if so, what?
I don't really follow food trends dramatically, I have my style and cooking technique which I’m comfortable with and this is what I prefer to stick to!
What is unique about your establishment?
The Oxford Blue is a country pub that boarders the Royal Crown Estate. The venue offers high quality food with recipes based on tradition and comfort, but served with a modern twist. As well as this, another significant part of our ethos is delivering a highly professional and attentive service for our guests.
What are the future plans for the Oxford Blue brand?
At the moment as it is only early doors, my future plans are to have a successful business that has a regular occurrence of happy guest.
Do you have (or plan to have) any outlets internationally?
We are currently looking into plans internationally, but these are very much still in the planning stage.