Emily Watkins knew from an early age that she wanted to be a chef. Beginning her career in Italy, she worked in some of the best restaurants before returning to the UK where she worked alongside Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck, learning many of the innovative cooking techniques she continues to use today.
In 2007 Emily and her husband, Miles, opened The Kingham Plough. Their aim was to create somewhere that they themselves would like to visit; excellent modern British food and comfortable rooms set within a warm and relaxed environment. Traditional English dishes are created using modern techniques and locally sourced ingredients are used where possible and even celebrated, at the annual Kingham Plough Food Festival every May.
The food quickly gained critical acclaim and has been awarded numerous accolades including entries in the UK’s top 100 restaurants at the National Restaurant Awards and UK’s Top 50 Gastropub Awards. It is also listed in “The Times 25 Best Country Pubs for Food” and was voted “Oxfordshire Dining Pub of the Year” by the 2015 & 2018 Good Pub Guide. In 2014 Emily was voted “Cotswold Food Hero” at The Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards and was one of four finalists on BBC’s Great British Menu, cooking her fish course “Fight them on the Beaches” at the banquet at St Paul’s Cathedral.
In 2017 Emily and Miles celebrated The Kingham Plough’s 10th Anniversary with their four children; Alfie, Grace, Wilbur and Victor. Despite the demands of family life, Emily regularly performs live cooking demos across the UK and is a regular fixture on the Food Festival scene. Today, Emily and her talented team continue to build on the reputation she has worked so hard to establish.
I would certainly say Pub in the Park is up there with one of best things I have ever done, the atmosphere and buzz over those 3 days was just electric and I felt so lucky to be a part of it all. All in all, we served around 4000 dishes over the 3 days, the most popular being the Mackerel Taco which sold out on each session, I couldn’t have asked for a better crowd though as they were all willing to try the other dishes we had to offer. One of my favourite moments had to be that I got to celebrate my birthday which was on the Sunday In such an incredible way, meeting a huge amount of kind and wonderful people as well as watching The Milk who are one of my favourite bands.
Wow - what an incredible, amazing weekend! The vibe was fantastic; the food was stunning, the music outstanding, but above all else, the people of Marlow made the whole event feel very special. It showed off our lovely town to all our visitors and the chefs from all over the country and did us proud.