Thursday, 07 July 2022

Chefs pull out of pub deal before re-opening

Chefs pull out of pub deal before re-opening

A CHEF couple have given up their ownership of an historic pub in Shiplake.

Ryan and Liam Simpson-Trotman say they no longer own the Plough or are involved with it and instead will be focusing on their nearby restaurant Orwells, which has been suffering from staff shortages.

The Plough, which is the former Plowden Arms on the A4155 Reading Road at Shiplake Cross, is currently being redeveloped and is due to open this year.

The chefs did not want to comment on the transfer of ownership.

They acquired the pub, which dates back to the 17th century, last year when they realised it was at risk of being lost forever.

It had been closed since previous owner Karen Rackham left in January 2019.

They held a presentation at Shiplake Memorial Hall, where about 170 residents turned up to hear about the pair’s plans and to ask questions.

The owners has intended to re-open the pub in the spring under its original name of the Plough and to serve traditional pub food seven days a week.

They wanted to make changes to the pub, such as creating a rear kitchen entrance and improving the garden.

Meanwhile, Ryan has transferred from the kitchen to head of front of house at Orwells.

He said: “We had to make these changes as the hospitality industry continues to suffer from debilitating staff shortages nationwide but it appears I’m a bit of a natural!

“I’m in my element engaging with our customers and, of course, I know every detail of our menu, which I still devise with Liam. Now I’m working on a new seasonal cocktail list.

“Every now and then Liam and I will swap roles but we appreciate we’re really fortunate to do this as very few chef couples are capable of adapting their businesses this way.”

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