Emily Watkins’ journey as a chef began in the kitchens of Ristorante Beccofino, Florence, Italy. She loved the passion and energy the Italians put into everything, particularly their food, and the importance they gave to the ingredients and their provenance. Following two years of learning everything including, pasta, desserts and the language, she looked for her next challenge.
In 2002 she moved to The Fat Duck in Bray, working for Heston Blumenthal. The experience opened her eyes to the world of cooking. Heston broke all the traditional rules that were passed down from generation to generation and it was here she learnt that to get the best out of ingredients, it was sometimes better to use modern methods of cooking.
Following The Fat Duck, Emily began to develop her own style while working as a private chef in London. Using techniques learnt not only during her time in Italy and at The Fat Duck, but also from across the world where she spent time working in restaurant kitchens for a few weeks at a time.
In 2007 she opened the Kingham Plough in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. As head chef, she put everything into her cooking, working tirelessly to produce delicious dishes in her developing style of modern British cuisine.
Emily is delighted that during this time, so many people have come to The Kingham Plough to enjoy the food. Since its opening in 2007, Emily has featured on The Hairy Bikers, Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food and in the local, national and international press. In 2014, Emily competed in Great British Menu and won with her fish course. It was a huge honour for Emily to cook for war veterans at St Paul’s Cathedral in a banquet commemorating the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.