Sitting in the picturesque west Oxfordshire village of Shipton-under-Wychwood, The Wychwood Inn, is picking up accolades from gusts, diners and critics – earning four AA Silver Stars.

Mother and son Tracey and Paul, they completely transformed the property back in 2012 turning the old building into a stylish and inviting place for guests to dine and stay in one of five stylish en-suite guest rooms.

The kitchen is the domain of head chef Joe McCarthy who has been in charge of a small team in the kitchen for the past five years.

Joe undertook his apprenticeship at the Lords of the Manor in Upper Slaughter while training at Gloucestershire College in Cheltenham. He went on to gain experience at a number of restaurants around the Cotswolds before settling at the Wychwood Inn, where he has free reign to cook anything from pub classics to fine dining, surprising diners by giving favourite ingredients an unusual twist.

“I have established an excellent reputation for quality food at The Wychwood Inn,” he says. “Not only do locals from around the Wychwood villages of Shipton, Milton and Ascot-under-Wychwood visit our restaurant regularly, so do people from further afield. Having quality accommodation on offer too helps so guests can enjoy a break in one of Oxfordshire’s prettiest locations.

The Oxford Times:

“For 2019, my focus is on developing increasingly requested vegetarian and vegan dishes and working with more solely plant-based food. Vegan food has become very popular over the past year with more diners selecting vegan and vegetarian dishes and asking for more variety in the type of ingredients used. Veganuary was well supported by people looking for a healthier lifestyle choice.

“As a chef who has gained a reputation for putting together dishes that look exciting and taste wonderful, my challenge with vegan and vegetarian food is to ensure that the dishes don’t lack flavour whilst compromising certain ingredients. Together with my team, we have achieved this with the new dishes we now offer which have been received with very favourable comments.

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“We are trying also to capture a different audience – those people who like their steak, fish & chips or even an omelette. While the vegan market is still pretty small compared to the whole market, we want to ensure the dishes appeal to everyone and cannot single them out as just ‘vegan’ otherwise we may have high wastage.

The Oxford Times:

“Together with my team we continue to remaster classic recipes, pushing the standards of the food we produce even higher and learning together. My sous chef Charlotte Jefferies has produced a modified version of sticky toffee pudding which is on our current menu.

“We will also be continuing our Thursday night fish specials. Each week I create a special dish, working with the fabulous fresh fish supplied by Patrice Rogers from Chipping Norton. Our burger nights are also very popular. We do however run our normal menu alongside these special evenings.

If you have not come along to the Wychwood Inn, I hope you do very soon. You will also have the chance to see me at the Cotswold’s Show 30th Anniversary this year and Didcot Food Festival in October. Family and friends are also pushing me to enter MasterChef: The Professionals so that is something for me to consider seriously.”

Book at thewychwoodinn.com or call 01993 831185.