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 23 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.
I’m a Chef de Partie here at the Jack and am in charge of salads, garnishes and cold starters. I was born in Honiton and have grown up in this area of East Devon. My love of food began at an early age when I used to go fishing with my Grandad and cooked our catch for dinner. This inspired me to learn more about cookery.
I started my career at the age of 14 at the Halfway Inn and undertook an in-house apprenticeship when I was 16, which I have continued here at the Jack. I am about to begin my Professional Cookery NVQ Level 3.
In the next five years, when I have achieved my qualifications, I see myself progressing at the Jack and moving up through the ranks to be a better chef and increase my skill base.
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 2016 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. In December 2015 Devon Life named us 'Best Gastro Pub of the Year' in their annual food and drink awards.
My wife Joanne is the Manageress here at the pub and outside of work we are proud parents to Charlie and Max. 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.
I began my catering career working for Paul part time whilst attending Catering College. Now some 24 years later, I still relish the challenge of working at the Jack as part of an energetic team always pushing for the next level.
Five years ago Matthew (Head Chef) and I got married and we now live in Ottery with our two boys Max and Charlie who keep us busy and entertained when not at work. We all enjoy our trips abroad and making the most of precious family time together. As an integral part of the Front of House team here in the restaurant, I feel proud to be part of the Jack's acheivements and look forward to what is to come.
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 knit 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.
After taking an interest in cooking at an early age, following school I attended East Devon College where I gained my NVQ levels 2 & 3 in Catering. During this time I did work experience for 2 months at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow where I developed various skills with a variety of fish and gained a lot of invaluable experience.
I started at The Jack in the Green 3½ years ago again after doing work experience and am relishing the prospect of furthering my career here. When I am not at work I enjoy watching the Exeter teams playing football and rugby.
My enthusiasm for cooking started at an early age. My Dad loves to cook and always encouraged me to cook as well. I took GCSE Catering at secondary school and as part of the course had to plan and run a charity dinner at the Salty Monk. This was my first real experience of working in a commercial kitchen.
In July 2013 I came to the Jack in the Green for work experience and loved it. That is when I knew then that I wanted to become a chef. To begin, I worked part time doing the washing up whilst I was still at school. Now into my third year, I specialise in desserts and pastry but am also learning all the other different sections.
Outside of work I am an Explorer Scout and love to read. I also enjoy sports, especially running and Tae Kwon Do in which I recently achieved my black belt.