Oakman Inns, which owns the White Hart in Ampthill, has become only the second pub group to achieve the prestigious ‘Food Made Good’ 3 Star Rating.
The staff and directors of Oakman Inns & Restaurants has announced that all 15 pubs in its portfolio have been awarded the highest possible status of Three Stars from The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).
As a result Oakman, which also owns venues in Bucks, Herts and Oxfordshire becomes only the second pub group to achieve three-star status and join the ranks of restaurateurs such as Raymond Blanc (The SRA President), Rick Stein, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Thomasina Miers, and Antonio Carluccio, all of whose restaurant companies have achieved this accolade.
The SRA scheme operates under the banner of the SRA’s Food Made Good programme, a marque aimed at showing customers that SRA members are passionate about serving great quality food in a way that isn’t costing the earth.
The rating is based on an holistic assessment of each business, covering 14 key-areas that consider best sustainability practice under the headings (or pillars) of Society, Sourcing and Environment. Among the many high scores that led to their three-star recognition, Oakman Inns’ CEO, Peter Borg-Neal, is especially proud of his team’s work under ‘Society’ and their overall score of 98%.
The judges commented on the comprehensive employee induction and training programmes that include developing skills in, for example, wine and cellar management, as well as graduate and management training programmes. They also praised Oakman Inns for providing customers with healthier options by offering smaller portion sizes at a reduced cost and healthier cooking methods, such as steaming.
Oakman Inns also received a score of 98% for their community engagement programme where they continue to support local charities and work closely with the Springboard Charity. In addition, the company organises networking breakfasts for local businesses and invites school children to come and learn about how food is produced. Oakman also supports a growing number of minis and junior rugby teams at local and regional sports clubs and last year organised the inaugural Oakman Cup, a minis and junior touch rugby competition at Allianz Park.
Peter Borg-Neal went on to say: “2016 will be our fourth year of membership and everyone working with and for us has joined our efforts to make each and every one of the Oakman Inns a sustainably beneficial part of the local area and community. Our work goes on and I’m very excited by our support for a new initiative aimed at encouraging more people to organise their own Street Parties and to create safe environments in which children can play outside. OurStreetParty.org is especially good news with the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations coming up in June. Obviously we are committed to improving our scores in other areas such as energy efficiency and in our use of recycled materials and I believe our future bars and restaurants will reflect that in many ways.”
Oakman’s Chef Director, the award-winning Ross Pike, said: “We’re developing more supply lines to support the work we already do in sourcing food products that meet our free range, fair-trade, local and/or seasonal requirements. It’s those standards we set that our customers have come to expect.”