“To me the meaning of hospitality is about being looked after. From the moment you walk through the front door to the moment you leave.” The Wordrobe chats what it takes to run a successful pub with Luke Fouracre, Head Chef at The Bottle & Glass Inn
What inspired you to open the Bottle & Glass Inn?
Having met David and Alex and knowing their history at The Harwood Arms – I was keen to work with them – but once they’d shown me The B&G I was on board – a 300 year old thatched pub with an up to date extension in an area of natural beauty in south Oxford – Love at first sight.
What’s been the most rewarding aspect of opening the pub?
Opening a pub that has been closed for a number of years and making it the heart of the community once more has been really rewarding – a really good news story.
Talk interiors to us…
The old part of the pub has so much charm – 300 year old beams and flag stone floors. We’ve tried to pull the charm of the old part into the new, with Farrow and Ball colours, refurbished antique table and chairs, country prints by Jake Eastham as well as beautiful handmade Harris tweed curtains and banquette seating.
Wine plays a big role at the pub so what better than having it all on show. We have a huge cabinet at the end of the front dining room and it takes centre stage – we also have a nod to the past with the old Bottle & Glass pub sign adoring the wall.
Do you have any culinary heroes? Who are your role models?
There are so many to choose from! One of my biggest heroes has to be Thomas Keller of The French Laundry in Napa Valley. His cook book was one of the first that I read and I was just amazed by the simplicity and the precision of it all, it’s still one of my favourite books.
Closer to home I’d have to say both Stephen Harris and Tom Kerridge – both are setting the standard for cooking in pubs.
What does ‘hospitality’ mean to you?
To me the meaning of hospitality is about being looked after. From the moment you walk through the front door to the moment you leave, it’s about giving people a great experience and making them feel comfortable and happy. It’s about exceeding people’s expectations.
Tell us more about your business background? How did you get into the industry?
I started washing dishes in my local pub when I was still at school. I’d always been interested in cooking and wanted to experience life in a kitchen, although it wasn’t exactly glamorous at that point!
The head chef there suggested I go to catering college – so I went to London and studied at Westminster college. From there I experienced some of the best restaurants in London before settling for a period at The Houses of Parliament.
After that I moved to Surrey and then on to The Royal Oak in Paley street, that’s where my passion for cooking in pubs really took grip.
What can guests expect from the menu?
A good variety of different dishes, both seasonal and as local as possible, cooked with love and care and served in a way we think best compliments the ingredients.
Name us three of your favourite restaurants.
The Hand and Flowers, The Ledbury and Eleven Madison Park are by far the three best meals I’ve had – not that I frequent them very often!
Describe your ultimate midnight snack…
It’s got to be a cheese and ham toasted sandwich! It’s my go to snack when I get home from work!
Bring it to life and try Luke’s dishes for yourself
Bones Lane, Binfield Heath, Henley-on-Thames RG9 4JT