Most chefs worry about a visit from a food critic but not Andy Routledge, the new chef at the Golden Cross Inn. In fact cooking for Fleet Street food critics and editors is quite the norm for Andy.
Having recently taken over the kitchen of the Cirencester pub and restaurant, Andy, in a previous working life, was employed as Executive Chef for the Telegraph Media Group, cooking once a week for the editor and providing the many journalists with their daily grub in the noughties.
"I cooked for all sorts and the editor at the time, Will Lewis, often had important visitors including politicians, TV people and film stars," Andy said. "Mark Palmer was the restaurant critic then, while Xanthe Clay was the food writer – both were regular visitors to the dining room.
"Working in London, especially at the Telegraph, was a special time in my career and while I enjoyed my time there, I have always been more comfortable closer to home."
Originally from Fairford in Gloucestershire, Andy returned to the Cotswolds to redesign and open the kitchen at The Railway Inn in his hometown. This led to similar roles at The Radnor Arms in Coleshill, Oxfordshire, followed by The Vines at Black Bourton near Burford.
Now 41, Andy already feels settled at The Golden Cross and is looking forward to enhancing the reputation the award-winning Arkell's pub has for its food.
"There have been some great chefs in that kitchen over the years and I just hope that I can deliver to their standards. I want to fill the specials board with great seasonal dishes every day, and cooking with fresh ingredients and the region's excellent produce is really important to me," Andy explained.
This is evident with Andy's signature dish - pork three ways: slow roasted belly, pan fried loin, bread-crumbed black pudding with caramelised apple and Savoy cabbage already proving a hit, and his tea smoked duck breast with raspberry sauce is also a must for diners visiting the Black Jack Street eatery.
"I just cook what I would want to eat when I go out – simple, fresh, uncomplicated food. I think this is where some chefs go wrong - there's no need to reinvent the wheel," Andy added.
The Golden Cross is also now open for breakfast in their Stable Bar on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10am. For more information or to book a table please contact The Golden Cross Inn on 01285 652137