My first experience of the trade was as a glass collector in Coventry’s busiest pub at the age of 14 whilst at the same time working in Coventry market on a fruit and vegetable stall – fantastic times and that's when I realised food and drink was for me.
In the 70’s and 80’s Coventry had one of the best catering colleges in the country so I embarked on a OND in Catering, which led to a degree course in hotel management. Part of the degree was a 6 month intern in a top class hotel in Bavaria. This gave me a taste for what food and drink meant to passionate people – customers and fellow professionals alike.
As soon as I finished my degree course I went straight back to Bavaria for two years and worked my way to head waiter in an Alpine hotel. After two years I thought it was time to come back and pursue my management dreams so it was off to sunny Devon to manage the Salston Hotel in Ottery St Mary.
I was then approached to open a closed pub in Ottery St Mary – The Masons Arms. After two successful years a bigger challenge was needed. The Montagu Arms Hotel at Beaulieu beckoned and a wonderful time was had in the New Forest, but I was missing pubs where real people went and had fun. In 1990 I won the UK Egon Ronay Pub of the Year at the Silver Plough, Pitton near Salisbury.
In 1992, with very limited funds, I bought the free hold of the Jack in the Green - a tired and dilapidated roadside pub. With the A30 bypass pending everyone told me it was a disaster waiting to happen.
The rest is now history after 21 years, many hours of labour, millions spent on food and drink, two kitchens and three refurbishments we are still here and going from strength to strength.
Born and bred in Exeter I am the youngest of three brothers. Arriving at the Jack as a football lover, Paul, the Exeter Chiefs and my Welsh heritage have led to a newfound love of Rugby. My support of Exeter City will never waver though and it is great to live in a City with two fantastic, successful, community sports teams.
Friendly rivalry is played out on the Golf course with Paul wherever possible and Matthew and I will also get together to go course fishing or Piking on Tiverton canal when we can.
I began working in catering at The Black Horse Inn when I left college at 18. Starting as a waiter I spoke to the owner who agreed to train me as management and put me on the necessary courses. Moving on to an Assistant Managers role at ASK I was spotted working by Paul. The situation arose six years ago to join the Jack team and I could not have made a better choice.
Sharing the same core values of customer care, attention to detail and going the extra mile for customers has, I think, helped Paul and I forge such a successful working relationship. Also Matthew’s passion and drive to produce the best is like nobody I have ever worked with. One day my aim is to run my own restaurant and I could not have served a better apprenticeship.
I began my journey as a chef by training at Exeter College. I finished my final year as the ‘Pastry Student of the Year’ and the only the one in my class to achieve a distinction in the pastry exam. With my NVQ 3 in Professional Cookery I began at the Jack in 2010 as an apprentice on the desserts section.
I am now in charge of all the bread, desserts and pastries that we make from scratch each day in the kitchen. Last year I was a runner up in the Young Professional class of the ‘South West Chef of the Year’ competition having had to cook a starter and main course for a panel of top judges from a box of mystery ingredients.
Recently diagnosed as gluten intolerant, I have quickly developed an understanding and empathy for guests who have special dietary requirements like myself. As such, our desserts, and infact the bulk of our cooking, can now be gluten free, dairy free, wheat free and even garlic free.
A well travelled and rosy cheeked rugby aficionado running one of the most exciting pubs in Devon – Irresistible!
Expect good local brews on tap and a crystal clear philosophy to serve only the best Devon produce. Both restaurant and pub, The Jack in the Green is Michelin and Good Food Guide Recommended and oozes honesty, panache and that rare four letter word – CARE.
Seasonality comes through in every dish. Ruby Red beef, Talaton porkers and Poll Dorset lamb from Whimple. All get the star treatment. Pub grub classics are given a delicious kick up the backside and the kitchen flex their creative muscles across modern, innovative menus. Look to the chalkboard for daily specials like hand dived scallops from Lyme Bay.
Menus are innovative with just a touch of alchemy. Pinned down to a description they’re Modern British. All are full of verve and punchy flavours with twists not always apparent until the flavours explode on your tongue. Value for money is constantly at the forefront of our minds. Throughout 2013 the 'Totally Devon' menu will stay fixed at £25 for three courses and it’s also worth remembering that all our mains come complete with seasonal vegetables and potatoes.
After serving an apprenticeship under the tutorage of Shaun Hill at Gidleigh Park, I took over the kitchens of the Jack in 1995. A year later, we became one of the first pubs to achieve 2 AA rosettes; an award that we have maintained ever since.
In March 2007 I won the Professional Class in the South West Chef of the Year and also 'Devon Chef of the Year' from Devon Life. More recently the restaurant has retained its Michelin Bib Gourmand as well as continued inclusion in the Good Food Guide, Alastair Sawday's Recommended Pubs, Harden's and the Trencherman's Restaurant Guide.
We have featured in the UK’s Top 100 Restaurants and Top 50 Gastropubs for the last three years, accolades that I am extremely proud of.
In 2011 the Jack won the Western Morning News Readers Award at the annual Taste of the West Food & Drink Awards and I was asked to join some of my peers in the Master Chefs of Great Britain.
Outside of work I am the proud father to Charlie and most recently Max. My wife Joanne is a waitress here at the pub and we married last year at nearby Combe House. For the last five years I have worked extremely closely with West Hill Primary School teaching the children all about food miles, freshness and seasonality.
Originally from Northallerton in Yorkshire, I moved to Exeter at the age of 5 where I was brought up and went to school. From an early age, I was lucky enough to travel extensively overseas. I especially enjoyed family holidays to southern Italy where I developed a passion and interest in food and Italian cuisine.
At the age of 21 I got my first kitchen position as a Commis Chef at Jamie’s Italian in Bath. Keen to further develop my career in catering, I then moved back to Exeter and managed to get a job at the Jack as Chef de Partie. Now in my spare time I enjoy eating out and widening my knowledge for fine foods.
Born and raised in Devon, I left school and started an apprenticeship in a marine motor business that reflected my love for mechanical and computerised equipment. However, spurred by my grandparent’s restaurant and my parent’s love of fine dining, I soon developed a passion for all things cooking. This developed into a rapidly rising career starting out in local pubs and then moving to restaurants with greater dining ambience. I am now Sous Chef at the Jack.
Since my appointment, I have become engaged to Georgia the mother of my gorgeous child; Dylan who keeps me fully occupied on my days off. I love working in an environment of locally grown produce that the Jack offers. Working in such a tight nit team and with Matthew as a mentor, I continue to learn the finer subtleties of great cooking and serving food to a very high standard.
I developed my love for food and local produce from an early age and was undoubtedly influenced mainly by my father’s farm where which we grew a variety of fruits and vegetables. I share this love for the outdoors with my partner Kayleigh and our two children, Alfie aged 4 and most recently Archie aged 8 months.
My hobbies include sports, mainly football and fishing. Also anything food & drink related. Since starting my career at the Jack in November 2009 I’ve worked my way through the ranks acquiring a wide range of skills along the way. This has enabled me to work on various sections of the kitchen and gain experience across the board.