WHILST IN LOCKDOWN
As we entered lockdown, our first concern was everyone’s wellbeing and their ability to support families in such unprecedented times. Peach have been great in helping our team, with access to our hardship fund, zoom quizzes, online DJ sessions and masses of social contact, keeping us all in touch. Some of the pubs helped with Your Hub, a Social Enterprise to support the local community. From feeding homeless, to Youth support centres, NHS call centres, hospitals and care homes. Read more of what the Peach team have been up to here.
The Bear Team certainly keep themselves busy during lockdown so I thought we’d share our lockdown stories.
It’s been great to safely start our takeaway service and it’s been a real hit with the residents of Cumnor and local community. A huge thank you to all of our volunteers devoting their time and making it happen.
Besides volunteering for the Hub, The Bear team have been very busy during lockdown.
Jack bought himself a (very) little motorbike – I’m not quite sure how he is able to stay on it, but he assures me he can. Head Chef, Chris, set up a fruit and veg market in his front garden in Abingdon at the start of lockdown. Not only did this keep him very busy, but meant that those who could not get to the shops, could have fresh fruit and delivered to their house or collected direct from Chris. Well done Chris! Our Sous Chef, Zoltan, bought himself a bike and has found a love for cycling with his wife or Chris. Together they have often cycled over 40km at a time.
Alex has also been cycling, it took him two days to get from Cumnor to Durdle Door, just over 120 miles. What an amazing effort. He cycled for 16 hours on day one, before camping overnight (yes, he cycled with the tent on his bike too)! It was definitely worth the trip, and he treated himself to the train journey home! Well done Alex.
Zoe and Meaghan have been keeping fit, and followed a 12 week ‘no carbs’ weight loss and fitness plan. Well done to you both – how you’ve managed to not eat pasta for 12 weeks is truly amazing!
And meanwhile, I’ve been volunteering with Oxford NHS University Trust, delivering care packages to NHS workers a few times a week since the end of March, as well as cycling the Thames path in the evening watching the sun go down.
Adam Vine, General Manager
Adam grew up in Bedfordshire, where his parents loved to entertain. Thinking back to his childhood, he recalls fond memories of many great lunches and dinner parties at home, and has no doubt that his love for food and drink stemmed from those times seeing his parents bring friends and family together. At 16, he enrolled on a Hospitality and Catering course, and began working part-time in his local pub. He went on to study International Hospitality Management at Oxford Brookes University, and has since worked with many well-known names in the industry. Whilst at University, he spent a year on a small island off the East Coast of America, followed by a graduate management programme with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Through various stints in four-star establishments, Adam learnt the true meaning of exceptional service and hospitality.
After several years in London, Adam moved back home to Bedfordshire and ran his own pub, a real labour of love and huge learning curve. He now focusses on looking after his team and sharing his passion, something that he saw happened amongst the Peach family too.
When he’s not working, he likes to travel, with South Africa being one of his favourite places. Or, if he’s staying closer to home, you’ll find him in St. Agnes in Cornwall, a small coastal town with great seafood restaurants. He also enjoys walking his dog Millie, getting out on his bike, or visiting family in Somerset. Come in and share your travel stories with him soon.
Chris Kennedy, Head Chef
Chris grew up in Oxford and always loved the discipline of the kitchen. Cheffing runs in the family, and both his Father and Brother are also Chefs. From a young age Chris watched their work in the kitchen and at 15, tried his hand at being a waiter. After witnessing the creativity that Chef offers, and being inspired by big names in the industry such as Gordon Ramsey, he followed his passion and enrolled at catering college age 17. From then, Chris knew the kitchen is where he belonged, and his career has spanned several Head Chef positions in Cambridge and Oxford. Chris has joined Peach, bringing his enthusiasm and is most excited to continue to develop the premium offering at The Bear & Ragged Staff, driving the standards and maintaining the AA Rosette.
David Cumberlidge, Partner
David used to start his day serving breakfast at the small hotel his parents owned in Banbury, though a hotelier’s life certainly wasn’t for him. Leaving school at 17, he packed his bags for Barcelona and spent a year working at The Palace and McCarthy’s Irish bars in the city then headed for Ireland. Hotel Kilkenny was his next home for a year and David went back to school to earn his bartender stripes, before making for Newbury to help out a mate. Landing a job at The Yew Tree Inn at Highclere marked the start of an amazing journey with Marco Pierre White, and David worked shoulder to shoulder with the great man opening hotels and new pubs alike. As the empire grew, so did David’s talents and after five short years he was overseeing operations and running Marco’s Wheeler’s of St James’s group which included his gorgeous country pub collection. After eight years with Marco the decision was made to put all his talents to great use here in our pubs and the little Peach outpost he plans to create one day in Wiltshire.
Peach and our Pub
Peach is a collection of really great pubs, mainly in market towns in the heart of England. We serve good quality, fresh, honest food in relaxed, welcoming environments. Always with a kind word and a sense of fun. We’ve always been passionate about giving back and as we’ve developed and grown over the years, our ability and motivation to make the world a little better, a little peachier, has grown with us. The Bigger Peach shows our efforts to improve communities, equality in the workplace and the future sustainability of our world.
The Bear & Ragged Staff in Cumnor is a world away from the Newbury & Swindon roads that stream past only a mile from its door. The heart of the pub is a glorious Tudor beauty. Ancient fireplaces, flagstone floors and mullioned windows with carved lintels, make the bar one of the finest anywhere. A comfortable eatery, conservatory and South-facing terrace provide spaces for every mood – and winding stairs lead to cosy bedrooms with old oak doorways & beamed ceilings.
The village pub, which underwent a complete refurbishment earlier in the year as well as launching an all-new menu of freshly prepared seasonal food, achieved the 1 Rosette accolade following a recent anonymous visit by an AA Hotel and Restaurant Inspector. Demonstrating great cooking across the entire meal, serving food prepared with care, understanding and skill alongside good quality ingredients, showing standout food in the local area.
We are open every day serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. We take huge pride in serving the best ingredients we can find, from ethical producers, freshly prepared by our chefs. Whether you pop in for a pint, a business lunch or a special dinner, we promise you a friendly welcome. All day long. We also have nine bedrooms for a peaceful nights sleep. Find out more here.
We are just off the A420 heading towards Abingdon/Cumnor/Wootton. Follow B4017 through the village, just past the shop. The pub will be on the right, just after the garage. There is a car park for guests and residents on a first come first served basis. On street parking is also available at the front of the pub. For things to do in the local surrounding areas click here.
The Bear & Ragged Staff Team