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Chef Tim Luff, The Fishes, North Hinksey

PUBLISHED: 14:29 07 January 2011 | UPDATED: 16:36 20 February 2013

The Fishes, North Hinksey

The Fishes, North Hinksey

Cooking at The Fishes has been like coming home, new head chef Tim Luff tells Mark Taylor

The Fishes, North Hinksey Village, Oxford, OX2 0NA.

Tel: 01865 249796

Cooking at The Fishes at North Hinksey has been like coming home for new head chef Tim Luff.

Luff, who arrived at the Peach Pub Company-owned inn just before Christmas, started his career in gastropubs, most notably at the award-winning Olive Branch in Clipsham, Rutland, where he was head chef.

Luff started out in hospitality almost a decade ago, after finishing college in Rutland.His first job was managing the bar at The Olive Branch, run by owner and chef Sean Hope.

His life took a rather different turn when he wandered into the kitchen one day. He soon realised that this was the place he really wanted to be.

He started out from scratch, learning the basics of being a chef, absorbing everything he could from the skilled team around him and gradually perfecting his craft.

Nine years and a great deal of hard work later, he had worked his way to the top of the brigade and the pub found its way into the Michelin guide.

After almost a decade at the Olive Branch, Luff decided a change of scenery was in order, and moved up to Leeds to join the team running the kitchen at Harvey Nichols fashionable city centre eatery.

A chef who cites Fergus Henderson and Mark Hix as his food heroes, rather than TV chefs, Luff soon realised his heart was more in pubs than fine dining and headed to The Fishes.

Country house hotels and fine dining generally is a bit of a dying breed, says Luff, who is now cooking dishes like Kelmscott Farm free-range pork rib-eye with sage dauphinoise, apple fondant and crispy bacon or Cornish plaice fillet, roast garlic mash and parsley sauce two of the main courses on the new menu at The Fishes.

Other dishes on the menu include confit guinea fowl terrine with red onion marmalade, and venison carpaccio, shallot and balsamic dressing, rocket and shaved Parmesan.

Its terrific to be here at The Fishes because its a lovely pub which has really made its mark on the Oxfordshire gastronomic scene and picked up so many accolades for its great food, says Tim.

Im enjoying working with the team in kitchen and plan to take the Fishes food from good to even better.

I love nothing more than cooking with really good but simple British and local ingredients to create food that really sings out from the plate.

Thats a sentiment echoed by Katie Robertson, General Manager of The Fishes.

Tims an outstanding chef, with bags of energy and a very real passion for what he does. Hes already achieved some extraordinary things in his career so far and were really excited to be working with him.With Tim on board, I know the food here at The Fishes will go from strength to strength.

Luff has been pleasantly surprised with the adventurous tastes of the locals.

I put local partridge on the menu and they flew out they were as popular as the steak. The same goes for venison which we put on the daily specials. I can already see that they do eat properly in Oxfordshire.

I really believe in great British cooking. The Fishes is a really lovely pub and I really believe in cooking restaurant-quality food in a pub setting at pub prices.

As for the fine dining presentation Luff says he left all that back at Harvey Nichols in Leeds.

When youre doing 160 covers a day with three chefs, you dont have time for pictures on plates.

Obviously I take care over how things look on the plate but my firm philosophy is as long as it tastes nice, it doesnt matter if it looks a bit rustic. Its a pub, after all.

The Fishes is open daily from 11am, serving lunch from noon and hot food all day.


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