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The Oarsman’s Scott Smith Takes on The Crown at Bray

the oarsman

Award-Winning Chef’s Culinary Journey

Scott Smith, an award-winning chef, has garnered plenty of accolades since taking over the food operations at The Oarsman in Marlow. Now, he has set his sights on The Crown at Bray.

Scott joined The Oarsman from Sugar Boat in Scotland in 2022, bringing a wealth of experience from Michelin-starred restaurants across the UK, including Arbutus and Wild Honey. The Oarsman is a contemporary Bistro Pub and wine Bar on Spittal Street in Marlow. It serves bistro-style, seasonal dishes from the open kitchen and small plates from the charcuterie and larder counter. The restaurant has a strong environmental ethos and supports local suppliers where possible to serve the finest seasonal produce.

scott smith

Accolades and Achievements

Since joining The Oarsman, Scott and the team have won several accolades, including being included in SquareMeal UK’s Top 100 Restaurants for the UK. Scott is now delighted to be appointed Executive Chef, overseeing operations at the 16th-century pub, The Crown at Bray.

Culinary Inspirations and Evolution

Early Career Inspirations

Scott cites Fergus Henderson and Stephen Terry as early inspirations in his culinary journey. Henderson’s thrifty and respectful approach to ingredients at St. John heavily influenced Scott, while Terry pioneered great food in pubs.

Evolving Style

Over the years, Scott’s cooking style has become less fussy. He now focuses on letting the ingredients shine while still doing the required hard work.

The Oarsman and The Crown at Bray

Joining The Oarsman

Scott was attracted to The Oarsman by Nigel Sutcliffe and James McLean’s passion and vision. He quickly implemented simplicity in the menus, putting lovely things on a plate.

Positive Recognition

The positive recognition and accolades won since 2022 have inspired Scott, as the industry is full of talented people and great restaurants.

The Crown at Bray

Scott knew of The Crown at Bray and had visited it many times, always loving that it was a proper pub. The role excited him as it allowed him to cook proper hearty pub food while building on the success of The Oarsman.

Menus and Produce

Seasonal and Local Produce

Scott focuses on using local produce, such as Chiltern Venison, Windsor Estate venison, and Bill’s lamb from the Hambleden Valley, and plans to work with a gardener at Danesfield to grow specific vegetables.

Signature Dishes

One dish Scott loves at The Crown is the rabbit with mustard sauce—a classic, simple pub dish.

Summer Plans

With outdoor spaces at The Crown and The Oarsman, Scott plans to offer grilled ingredients with salads, such as lobster and chips, rotisserie chicken, and dishes suitable for children.

The Future

Looking ahead to 2024, Scott aims to continue building the two businesses, focusing on training and developing the team. With the general election out of the way, he hopes for good weather and consumer confidence, allowing people to start living again. /

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