The new head chef of the Goose in Britwell Salome, Oxfordshire, is aiming to regain its Michelin star, despite a well-publicised row in which owner Paul Castle was reported to have told former head chef Ryan Simpson that the restaurant's food offering was too ‘poncey'.
Simpson left just weeks after the pub was awarded a Michelin star in January, claiming he was under pressure from Castle to produce ‘pub grub' in order to bring in more local custom.
But John Footman, former head chef at the Michelin-starred Nut Tree and Simpson's successor at the Goose, told Caterer: "This whole idea that we are going to do burgers and chips at the Goose is not going to happen. The standard of food is paramount."
He said he expected the Goose to lose the star in January next year, but that he hoped to regain it and that Castle would not stand in his way. "I've been working at Michelin-starred restaurants for a long time now. I've worked at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, L'Ortolan and the Nut Tree. And I'd love to have my own Michelin star. But at the end of the day you need customers and you need to provide something that customers are going to want," Footman added.
He indicated that the restaurant, which is currently undergoing a refurbishment before re-opening on 4 April, would move back towards its roots as a pub by putting in a bigger bar and re-instating hand-pulled ales in a bid to pull in more local customers.
"I have lived in this village for seven years. But recently it was no longer a local venue. You couldn't pop in for a sandwich and a glass of wine. You could go to the Manoir and have a glass of wine and a sandwich if you wanted. But you couldn't come here," Footman said.
Locals will be invited to a tasting to choose the wines and beers that the Goose offers, and Footman has attempted to build a menu which uses much more produce from the local village farm shop.
"We don't want to lower the standard of the food at all - that's not what I am about at all. But we do want to make it more accessible for all people including the locals. At the end of the day it's their pub," he said.
John Footman to succeed Ryan Simpson as head chef at the Goose >>
By Neil Gerrard
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