Emily Watkins

Emily in a few words...

Chef Proprietor of The Kingham Plough

Great British Menu Veteran 

Awarding Winner Chef 

Previous Chef at The Fat Duck 

Contact Us About Emily

Phone: +44 20 8846 0966

Emily's Story

Emily Watkins is a chef and mother.  She is the chef proprietor of The Kingham Plough in Oxfordshire, a family business she co-owns with her husband, voted Top 10 in the Estrella Damn Top 50 Gastropub Awards 2016.


She began her career as a chef following a degree in business at the University of the West of England in Bristol.  She had always wanted to be a chef in a restaurant, following a love of food and cooking and wanting to learn anything and everything about it.  However her family and friends did their best to put her off for as long as possible.


She got on a plane to Italy armed with the Michelin guide and little else.  She then walked the streets of Florence, targeting the restaurants that received high accolades in the guide, until one of her favourite restaurants, Ristorante Beccofino, took pity on her and offered a job, though unpaid.  Emily worked determinedly, not only in the kitchen but also as a waitress and learning the language, until just a month later they offered her a full time job in the kitchen with a salary!


She spent a very happy 2 and a half years in the kitchen, learning all areas and inspiration in the Italian ethos, until she felt ready for the next challenge.  With encouragement from her head chef she applied for a job at a restaurant she had longed to work at since first dreaming of being a chef, The Fat Duck, and was offered a job straight away.


In 2004, Emily was working the sauce section when The Fat Duck was awarded 3 Michelin stars and 'Best restaurant in the world'.


In 2005 Emily moved to London and spent time working as a Private Chef, giving her an opportunity to work several stages in restaurants across the world.


In 2007, with a business partner, she moved to Oxfordshire to fulfil her dream of opening her own place.  They undertook an 8 month refurbishment and then, aged 28 and full of enthusiasm, they opened their doors. Assisted by just a Commis chef, Emily was cooking from the heart, simple dishes bringing all of the flavours out of the wonderful larder of the Cotswolds and inspired by historical and local cookery books.


Six years on, now married and with 3 young children, In 2013, Emily was the runner up for the South West region on BBC’s popular show Great British Menu, with her main course getting 10 out of 10.  In 2015, Emily took part in BBC2’s Great British Menu again, this time making it all the way through to the final banquet – cooking her winning dish for the Veterans of WW2’s D-Day.