Thursday 2nd May and what a fabulous day for a drive out into the countryside to the picturesque
West Berkshire village of Peasemore: Perhaps spring
is finally here?
|The Fox at Peasemore|
I arrive at “The Fox at Peasemore” late morning greeted by the site of a gleaming white building basking beneath a deep blue almost cloudless sky. I’m a few minutes early so park up and choose to use the time to do a quick recon of the exterior. As I walk around the pub I guess I must have looked lost as the tradesman putting a few finishing touches to the rear of the building asks if he can help me. I explain who I am and in that age old tradition of banter between photographer and bystander get the line “if I’d have known you would have been here today I’d have smarted up”.
The Fox, or as it was; “The Fox and Hounds” had been shut down for sometime even before the new owners: Philip and Lauren Davison began their renovation resulting in its reopening back in mid March of this year. I enter and meet Angie at the bar who has followed Phil and Lauren from their last business; The Sun in the Wood near Newbury. My first impression of the team is warm, friendly and professional.
Angie fetches Phil. He is welcoming and unassuming yet you get the notion that he is a highly focused entrepreneur who knows what he is about, where he is going and how to get there. Indeed the accolades that he has picked up in his past 28 years of running his own businesses would bear witness: Wine pub of the year, customer service pub of the year, marketing pub of the year (3 times) and Phil’s appointment as BII national licensee of the year in 2009.
|Lauren & Phil|
Phil gives me the official tour and introduces me to his delightful wife; Lauren and the kitchen staff; Thierry and Sean. We have a chat about the shoot and agree on what Phil wants me to cover and it’s then time to set up the lighting for the food shots.
|Sean & Thierry|
We are going to image a mix of starters, mains and desserts from Thierry’s kitchen. Thierry has been with the team for 18 months having also been at The Sun. He is a quiet thoughtful man and you can always tell if a chef is good to work alongside by the enthusiasm of his number two: Sean. Indeed Sean is the ying to Thierry’s yang; young and chatty and clearly seems to enjoy his role in the team.
Thierry’s food is not what you would expect from a country pub. Although it is relatively simple and unassuming the ingredients are top notch and the preparation and presentation are more often to be found in a fine dining restaurant. Definitely worth the drive out into the countryside for.
Food shots completed I shoot the team next as Angie has to be off to pick up her children from school. Then it’s a solo effort to capture the ambiance of the tastefully restored interior and exterior. Indeed changing the outside from yellow to white was an excellent call and the interior retains the feel of a traditional pub while utilising modern soft furnishings. I wonder if Lauren has been at work here as she tells me that she has a passion for design, exemplified through flower arranging. There are always fresh flowers to be found on the bar.
Phil’s experience and expertise is in demand elsewhere amongst publicans who understand the power of marketing as a tool to keep in touch with customers and increase their sales and bottom line. Indeed Phil’s approach increased the turnover at his previous venture fivefold. He consequently runs a consultancy:
I am sure that The Fox at Peasemore will be a great success for all concerned, including the local villagers who now have a pub back in the village. After just 7 weeks of opening the evenings, especially weekends, in the restaurant are largely booked out.
The Fox at Peasemore
Tel: 01635 248480
All images and text copyright Andrew Hill 2013
More and larger Images may be found on the Revealing Light website.