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Craig Oakley - Head Chef at The Glasshouse

Hi Craig, congratulations on your recent promotion to Head Chef. How are you feeling about it?

I’m excited about it. The Glasshouse is quite a unique offering so it’s great to be involved. We’ve got a really good team of chefs here too who are passionate about their work so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can create together.

Which dish and food station are your favourite?

I had a fish restaurant for four or five years so I’m always drawn to The Glasshouse’s seafood station. I’d love to make the station bigger and better and add new delicacies in time. My favourite food, however, has to be the rib of beef we serve on a Sunday.

If you could collaborate with any other chef, who would it be and why?

I’m a big fan of Francis Mallmann. He’s an Argentinian chef and has a fascinating philosophy about cooking with fire. He’ll go out into the wilderness and build a big fire to cook on. It’s quite a primal way of preparing food but I really enjoy it. I’m looking forward to Fuego In The Woods, our summer dining experience in the woodlands, as that’s all about open-fire cooking.

What would you say is the best way to approach a buffet as big as The Glasshouse?

There’s a lot of choice so it can be hard knowing where to start. I think lots of little plates is the way to go, so you can try bits from each station, without getting too full up. And start with the lighter options like charcuterie and seafood. Most importantly – save room for dessert!

The Glasshouse Desserts

Where did your passion for cooking come from?

I would say from having grown up around food. My grandparents had a café in East London when I was a kid and I was there all the time. I would watch them make pies, cooked breakfasts – all sorts really. I also have family in the south of France and the produce out there is amazing, so it inspires me to cook with the freshest, highest-quality ingredients wherever possible.

Who would be your dream dinner guest and why?

I’m a big Arsenal fan so I would pick Thierry Henry. I coach kids’ football at the weekend so I’m sure he’d be able to give me some good tips!

dining area at the glasshouse at the Grove

You’ve ordered a starter, main and dessert – what have you picked?

I love snails, so I’d pick that as a starter. Then for mains I’d pick a wing of skate with caper butter and boiled, buttered Jersey Royals – maybe with a bit of samphire. Dessert is quite a tricky one to pick as I’ve got a really sweet tooth, but if I have to choose, I’d go for a cherry frangipane with Cointreau cream.

THE GLASSHOUSE Experience The Whole World On Your Plate

The Glasshouse restaurant

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