Updated: Feb 11, 2021
We have a host of exciting interviews planned with foodies & chefs across Oxfordshire. Kicking off with the original Oxfordshire foodie and founder…Rachel Johnson! Take a look at her interview with Living Oxfordshire Magazine below.
Tell us about what you do ...
I am a Marketing Consultant by day and a Food Blogger by night (not literally of course). I’ve worked in Marketing in Oxfordshire for 14 years and I set up my blog @theoxfordshirefoodie in 2018 as a way to review and help GREAT local restaurants, pubs & foodie businesses in Oxfordshire get the exposure they deserve. My blog mantra is ‘Spreading the news of good food in Oxfordshire’ as I’m interested in bringing positivity and helping people to find local foodie gems.
What's the best part of your job?
Obviously it’s a pretty great job to be invited to eat at lovely places in Oxfordshire! In reality it goes much deeper than that though. There is no better feeling than hearing that people have visited restaurants on my recommendation and had a wonderful foodie experience. When I finish a review and the owner/chef contacts me to say thank you, there is usually a bigger story behind the food; a journey that they will have been on to get there and they are so grateful to see the hard work has paid off in positive feedback. I am equally grateful for restauranteurs who are committed to giving consistently great food and service in Oxfordshire.
Who is your greatest inspiration?
I consider myself very lucky to have many strong women in my life who inspire me every day. My Mum, sister & best friends have all been through challenges in one way or another and I am so inspired by their resilience and positive attitude to life. They are an incredible support to me and I hope to pass the same outlook onto my own children.
Your proudest achievement?
I met my husband at university and we fell pregnant in my first year of a 3 year course. It was a bit of a curve ball but when my son was a year old I decided to return to university and start a new degree in Business & Marketing. It was a hard 3 years but I completed the degree and gained a 1st class honours. My son turns 18 in December this year and he and my degree are without doubt my proudest achievements. I feel the opportunities I have had since this are all owed to this time in my life and the hard work that I put in and the determination I gained from it.
Describe your ideal day in Oxfordshire ...
I love running so I would begin the day with a run around Blenheim Palace and the lake because it’s so beautiful there all year round even if the hills are a killer! This would also then give me the excuse to spend the rest of the day eating! Starting off with brunch at The Milk Shed in Weston on the Green. The food there is so fresh and full of flavour, my absolute favourite place to go for brunch. I’d spend the afternoon shopping in Oxford with a mooch around the Westgate. I have very little stamina for shopping so it would swiftly be moved upstairs for cocktails & dinner at Victors. I love eating on the terrace there in summer and looking out on the dreaming spires of Oxford.
Favourite place to eat in Oxfordshire?
The Nut Tree in Murcott. This was the first Michelin star restaurant I ever visited 10 years ago and it sparked the beginning of my love of fine dining. I’ve since visited Michelin star restaurants all over the world and I still count the Nut Tree as my favourite because it offers the whole package. A cosy, friendly pub where you will be made to feel welcome whether you’re there to enjoy a pint and a bar snack or there to experience their Michelin star 7 course taster menu. The food is exceptional, it’s owned and run by a local couple who have put their heart and soul into the pub. They somehow give 5 star service whilst continuing to create a relaxed and familiar environment.
Favourite place to shop?
I’d go to Summertown if I’m looking for a mooch with lots of lovely coffee breaks! It’s such a lovely place to wander but if I need to get lots done in one place then I love going to Banbury Gateway as it’s so convenient and has everything I need there and I can chuck all my bags straight in the car!
Oxfordshire's best-kept secret?
The Secret Supper Society (oh the irony!) is a home restaurant run by Jules in North Oxfordshire. Her Supper club offers a unique dining experience and I had the pleasure of visiting earlier this year and enjoyed every minute and mouthful of her taster menu. The food is fabulous and as it’s BYO alcohol it is incredibly good value. Her homemade ricotta is heavenly and her cheeseboard magical. I expected it to feel strange being in someone’s house but in fact I felt completely at home and enjoyed popping into her kitchen at the end to see where it all happens! I won’t ruin any surprises but there are lots of unexpected foodie moments throughout which makes it unique and unlike a standard dining experience. My full review of The Secret Supper Society is on my website.