Chef: John Campbell – John achieved his first Michelin star in 1998, in his first year at Lords of the Manor Hotel and Restaurant in Gloucestershire. In 2000 he launched his first cookery book Formulas for Flavour and quickly gained high acclaim from chefs and avid cooks nationally and internationally, winning the Andre Cointreau award for best recipe book.
After a very successful five-year term at the Lords of the Manor, in 2002 he moved to The Vineyard as Executive Chef. During his eight-year tenure, he secured a global reputation for the restaurant’s outstanding cuisine. John ran a successful Academy for young, enthusiastic chefs from all over the world and is dedicated to the training and development of young chefs. In 2007 the second Michelin star was awarded.
Known as the “Cerebral Chef”, in 2008 he picked up the Cateys’ Chef Award as well as the Education and Training Catey for his commitment to developing young chefs.
In 2010, John opened Coworth Park with the Dorchester Collection as Director of Food and Beverage, earning the fine dining restaurant a Michelin star in the first year of trading. John left the Dorchester group to create his own restaurant company.
After much searching for the right ‘spot’ for his new venture, John found the perfect plot in Newbury where he could also add his much longed for cookery school. John has created a dining space with a Scandinavian feel, whilst keeping the character of the original pub and retaining a warm atmosphere. This is the 1 Michelin star restaurant The Woodspeen (https://www.thewoodspeen.com/).
John has a remarkable history and is an incredible chef. He mentored most of the other chefs who in the Vineyard’s line-up, including Nathan, Shay and Matt.
He was in great form in the Vineyard kitchen, explaining the courses to us:
The Vineyard’s resident Executive Chef, Robby Jenks, supported the visiting chefs throughout the week. Robby has worked as both junior and senior sous chef alongside Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park, and as chef de partie at The Dining Room at Whatley Manor – both renowned Michelin starred establishments:
The Vineyard: The Vineyard’s motto is Eat. Sleep. And drink wine. Privately owned by Sir Peter Michael and family, this is a 5 red star hotel and spa, renowned for impeccable service, their 3 AA Rosette restaurant and our award winning 30,000 bottle wine cellar.
Inspired by Sir Peter Michael’s own award-winning winery in California, The Vineyard was conceived as a way to pay homage to the beloved wine that the Michael family have devoted much of their lives to. It is a monument to the highly personal passions of Sir Peter Michael, representing his zest for fine food and wine, combined with his desires to promote the role of music and the arts.
Sir Peter was inspired by the famous Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 — known as the Judgment of Paris. This was a wine competition organized in Paris on 24 May 1976 by Steven Spurrier, a British wine merchant, in which French judges carried out two blind tasting comparisons: one of top-quality Chardonnays and another of red wines (Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California). Controversially, the American wines won!! Sir Peter now owns vineyards in California and produces some stellar high quality red and white wines!
Sir Peter commissioned a fabulous mural that is displayed at the Vineyard commemorating this event. He even had himself painted in, wearing his famous white Panama hat!
They are proud members of Relais & Châteaux since 2003 and are a temple to Californian wine – a luxurious haven where perfect will have to do.
Currently they don’t hold a Michelin star, although a few years ago, when John Campbell was the head chef, they held 2 stars. Currently, the level of food and service is undoubtedly worth at least 1 star.
Back to the Vine:
The Vineyard celebrated their 20-year anniversary, and to mark this milestone they created a culinary festival. From Monday 25th June to Sunday 1st July 2018, they showcased seven fantastic Michelin starred chefs who have worked at the Vineyard. There was a live stream direct from their kitchens and they hosted an interactive dining experience with the very best seasonal food and paired wine.
The line-up of chefs:
25th June – Shay Cooper
26th June – Nathan Outlaw
27th June – Matt Gillan
28th June – Richard Davies
29th June – John Campbell
We attended the final three dinners, with John, Daniel and Billy. All of the meals were fantastic. John produced an extraordinary meal and I will be visiting him at the Woodspeen!
Cured Loch Duart Salmon, young beets, goats curd
Tikveš, Cuvée Cyril Belo, Macedonia
Risotto of wild mushroom, summer truffle
Tramin, Pinot Noir, Italy
Aged beef, horseradish galette, tomato fricassee
Pagos Del Moncayo, Prados Fusión Garnacha Syrah, Spain
Cucumber, lime and mango
Gérard Bertrand, Code Rouge, France
Strawberry brûlée, black olive and PX jelly
Berton Vineyard, Botrytis Semillon Halves, Australia