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Crisis in the kitchen

May 13, 2013

Over the many months recently (and years subconsciously) that  I’ve spent researching ideas for the new St Giles’ Café there are a few stand out (from the plethora of panini and baguette) experiences that have really helped me formulate my views on food in Oxford and wider afield.

I have always admired and enjoyed The Anchor in Polstead Road and its recent closure is a great loss to Oxford, though for me a great stroke of luck in that I was able to employ our Head Chef, Dave whom I have written about earlier. There’s much more to come on him…..

I have also admired the   and enjoyed many evenings there.  And my as yet only trip to  gave me great encouragement about the renaissance of high quality café food.

I was extremely privileged to be able to spend a month before Christmas honing my skills under the very generous Carl Isham, Head Chef at   Thank you Carl, you are brilliant chef and I rate very highly everything that you and the rest of your brigade seek to do.

And on several occasions I was drawn back to  because of their approach to food and the standard of their cooking. Whenever I have been. the place has been packed.  I knew vaguely who they were and what they did but it is only in the past week that I have fully understood and appreciated the extraordinary work that they do.

Please follow the link above to read more about them.  In brief, as a charity for single homeless people, they aim to take some of our most vulnerable members of society and train them to become chefs and help them then gain employment.  In this last week we have had the very great pleasure to have two of their apprentices to work trial shifts.  Both of them had very high skill levels, a real capacity for hard work and an evident passion for cooking great food.  And to both of them we have been able to give further work.

The manager of the Crisis Skylight Café (and the person responsible for their mentoring and training) Oxford dropped in to to see Dave and me last Friday. He came to thank us for taking interest in them and explained in detail the role that Crisis plays.

The thanks are owed completely to him, his two apprentices that we have met to date and for the brilliant work that they do.


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