Top 50 Gastropubs

Jamie Barnett

Did you always want to get into cooking?

Actually no, I wanted to be an Engineer in the military, but for some reason working in a pub when I was 13 kind of evolved into becoming a chef...strange as it sounds.

What do you enjoy most about your industry?

I have to say it’s the people! The kitchen is like a second family and I get to meet new people every day from suppliers to locals and staff. Training the young future chefs of tomorrow is very rewarding as well.

What is it that attracted you to gastropubs?

I have always thought pubs were the way forward, its great food in comfortable surroundings. Comfy chairs, wonky walls, and open fires, like a home from home. You could have a family and their dog and a business meeting going on at the same time that’s the beauty of pubs!

Where’s your favourite place to eat in the UK?

That’s a tough one, there are so many good places and great chefs out there, but I would probably have to say The Hardwick in Abergavenny by Stephen Terry. The food and service were both great, a very memorable meal.

Who’s your biggest influence?

There are so many great chefs out there, too many to mention. Growing up there were plenty of chefs I aspired to be or even be like. Many chefs learned to cook from their mothers or grandparents, that wasn’t me, I sought inspiration elsewhere. I looked up to chefs like Adam Byatt, Stephen Terry and still aspire to be up there with chefs like James Mackenzie at The Pipe and Glass.

Tea or coffee?

Yuck, neither. I’ve never had a Hot drink in my life and I’m not starting now!

What does being a Top 50 Gastropub mean to you?

I’ve always followed the list and admired the chefs that were on it from afar, but to be recognised and to be put on that list for the first time was amazing and to enter straight in at 37! We are amongst some serious talent and great establishments, but just to be one of fifty across the whole country is EPIC and within my first 7 months of being head chef at the castle was fantastic and great recognition to my team that have been behind me the whole time!

What’s your favourite ingredient right now?

As our menu changes and develops we have discovered some amazing suppliers along our journey, but I have to say currently the retired dairy cow beef we have been receiving from ‘new MacDonald’s farm’ near Corsham is another level! We buy half cows at a time just to maximise the use of this amazing product.

What do you think the future holds for Gastropubs

I think the future of relaxed dining is Gastropubs and we will continue to go from strength to strength. People can sample some truly amazing food and produce sometimes even right on their doorstep. It’s a chance to relax and enjoy amazing dishes with family and friends without the formalities of a stuffy restaurant.