It is a massive crew to head up at The Randolph – 22 cooks and 7 kitchen porters – but it was an opportunity new government head chef Rhys Grayson could not resist when supplied the occupation.
“The Randolph is such an legendary title, regarded the world over”
He’s experienced his function slice out for him though. As properly as The Alice – the main cafe there – there are numerous conference rooms, personal eating suites, high tea, space services and breakfast to contend with.
Dining figures were being small when he arrived and there was a great deal to be performed to restore The Randolph’s culinary standing, but eight months in and Rhys’ track record proceeds him, the food stuff manufactured in the kitchens now hitting all the appropriate notes.
“It’s been the largest challenge of my occupation, but i never regret a second”
“It’s been the most significant problem of my occupation,” Rhys admits “but I do not regret a next. I could always see its possible. The Randolph is this kind of an iconic title, known the globe above, and the high-quality of the food now matches that,” the 32 yr-aged claims proudly.
“We’ve still bought a way to go, and it won’t transpire right away, but we have stepped up to the mark and are building a title for ourselves once again.”
Rhys’ CV is extraordinary. Hailing from Epsom he obtained the foodie bug early on, and before long wangled a scholarship as a result of Westminster Kingsway College or university at The Wolseley in London.
Moving swiftly up the ranks he moved on to the RAC Club, Boulstin and Fischers in London then Pasture in Bristol and Cardiff, before creating a identify for himself opening restaurants this sort of as D&D, German Gymnasium and Haugen in London.
Fancying a change, he read that the prime occupation at The Randolph was up for grabs and at the time appointed, promptly began coaching up his chefs and writing new menus showcasing the type of food items he wished to cook.
“I’ve under no circumstances shied away from tough work,” he claims, “I want us to be the best cafe in Oxford. We are not going to be Le Manoir but our wise brasserie style menu is flourishing and we are eventually making a name for ourselves,” Rhys states.
Eight months down the line he’s delighted to see every little thing heading in the ideal way. Quantities are up, buyers are satisfied and The Randolph’s culinary track record is on the rise.
So what of his meals? “It’s all about seasonality and sustainability, so our new spring menu showcases radishes and asparagus, wild garlic, refreshing morel mushrooms, purple sprouting broccoli – almost everything that is in time,” he says.
“But I also adore bringing back the classics and providing them a twist, as effectively as coming up with new suggestions, so my Caesar salad is made with 24 month aged gruyere, smoked garlic, house built sourdough croutons and the most effective rooster we can get our hands on.”
Rhys is also experimenting with a fermented garlic and honey dressing which he serves with pork chops, as effectively as dry ageing his meat.
And what of the future? “We will preserve pushing on right until we get wherever we want to be. Rosettes I hope but we are now in a a great deal far more relaxed location than we have been 6 months ago.
“But it’s also about inspiring my staff, displaying them what the aspiration is and how to respect the develop, training them not only how to prepare dinner but how to produce as cooks, to appreciate what they do.
“You have to have to inspire your personnel but every person desires to be taught with regard,” Rhys provides, and with that he’s back again to the kitchens, to do what he does best – cooking with passion.
The Alice at The Randolph is on Beaumont Street, Oxford. https://www.graduatehotels.com/oxford-uk/restaurant/the-alice/