By Executive Chef John Footman
A week ago, The Oxford Kitchen won the ‘Editor’s Choice’ award at this year’s Oxfordshire Restaurant Awards. It was great recognition, and I was so happy for the whole team.
While it really is great to win awards, my time working in the food industry has taught me the important lesson of keeping things in perspective. When you win an award, you are up against at least a couple of competitors who, like you, fully deserve to be nominated, and fully deserve your respect. Even more deserving of respect are the judges, who spend a lot of time and energy examining many factors to determine what makes one nominee just that little bit more deserving of the award than the others.
Just how subjective these things are depends a great deal on how the judging criteria have been set out and adhered to. If this is done well, the award, when it is given out, really does mean something. The feedback we received from the judges convinced me that they understood and appreciated what me and my team have been working so hard to achieve in the short time since the restaurant opened. When you’re as busy as we are, you don’t have time to look back and see what you have achieved. Our hours are long and tedious, but this kind of hard graft is what it takes, if you’re aiming to be the very best, as we are. This is just one of the many lessons I learned in my time at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons – you have to take ‘dedication’ to a whole new level. So, looking at our Editors’ Choice award in this light, I am truly thrilled and incredibly proud of the team I have working with me. I know, from the work we are all doing, that this is only the beginning, and that we will keep on producing food that amazes and delights our customers. Awards are nice, but this is the real reward for us all.
It’s your opinion that matters to us more than anything else, so if you haven’t paid us a visit yet, please come along, try us for yourself and let us know what you think. We’ll look forward to welcoming you.