When I first opened Knife & Fork, the idea was to run a very small home restaurant that would open occasionally. I had no idea whether people would like the idea or whether it would just seem a bit odd!

An additional issue was that I am coeliac, which is an autoimmune disease. As a chef I needed to be able to taste everything that was to be served to my diners, but as a coeliac I couldn’t taste anything that contained gluten – so everything at Knife & Fork obviously had to be gluten-free.

Whilst this was not an issue for me, as meat, fish and vegetables are naturally gluten-free – I felt that there was a risk that Knife & Fork would be perceived as a niche restaurant if I actually advertised it as such. I therefore decided not to tell anyone, unless asked, as this might put off potential diners.

Ultimately my aim was to create a friendly environment where anyone could come to spend the evening and share a meal. I therefore decided that I would serve a set menu that would change regularly based on the produce available and on what I fancied cooking. The secret ingredient of great food is that the chef needs to give it some love when prepping it.

I serve a set menu of five courses with complimentary Prosecco and canapés on arrival and also tea/coffee and homemade petits fours to round off the meal. Part of the fun of dining here – or so I am told – is that no one knows the menu until they arrive.

I have two sociable tables of eight so diners sit communally making it quite different from a typical restaurant, and is an aspect that our diners particularly enjoy.

Within a very short time of opening it became apparent that people had differing dietary requirements but I am always up for a challenge so provided that I can cater for them, and everyone else on the night, I happily book them in.

Knife & Fork is now in its third year and I am thrilled with its success. Not only have I won Gold and Crème de la Crème in the Free From Eating Out Awards two years running but I have also been included in the 2018 Good Food Guide.

I would describe the food as modern eclectic; basically, what I love to cook and eat myself using cooking methods and ingredients from around the world.

The vast majority of my guests have no need to eat ‘Free From’ food but are very happy to dine here. Many come back regularly knowing that everything is gluten free.

They can just relax and enjoy their evening out alongside their friends, family and other diners; there is no need to cross examine us about ingredients or methods of cooking.

This is the Knife & Fork philosophy; delicious food to be shared and enjoyed by all. A time to sit down, indulge and relax.

Knife & Fork, Castle Farmhouse, Clifton Rd, Deddington. OX15 0TP. 01869 336 954.