Before working at the zoo, Jamie worked with a number of well-known pub and restaurant brands, travelling around the country to open new sites.
His role involved getting the restaurants up and running, then spending time working with the teams before moving on to the next new restaurant.
Below Jamie tells us more about what visitors can expect from The Oakfield and the changes that have been made:
“The Oakfield is a traditional English pub – with a really good seasonal menu and plenty of beers, ales and spirits to choose from. We have 50 gins alone! The food menu will be made up using local producers and suppliers and will be very diverse.
“The layout of The Oakfield is very different to what it was before. Some of the walls have been moved so as you walk in you can see nearly the whole of the ground floor. Even though our guests won’t see it, we’ve knocked down the old kitchen and have built a bigger and better space for what our team of chefs need. The furnishings are more traditional, with wooden tables and nice comfy wingback chairs.
“There’s also a beautiful garden room that is an extension onto the original building, it’s open and glazed all the way around with sky lights on top and a beautiful floor. Outside there’s also a terraced area where you’ll be able to sit and eat outdoors – if the weather is nice!
“As it’s a Grade II listed building we’ve been extremely careful with what we’ve done to enhance the building. We’ve made sure that although we’re opening it up and improving the flow, everything else is how it was. There are amazing spaces in this building and we’ve just improved them by treating the woodwork and bringing it back to its best.
“I think The Oakfield is one of the most important buildings in the zoo; it’s where George Mottershead started it all and it’s where the zoo has grown from. Over the years it’s been many things – from George’s family home, the zoo’s head office and a wedding venue. This is the next evolution of the building and we’re trying to keep it at its best but finding new use for it and in a way that all of our visitors can enjoy as well.
“We want people to feel at home when they visit; it’s a place where they can relax and enjoy quality service. We want you to come and relax for an hour or two and have a nice meal before you continue round the zoo. Come in and have a good time!”