Ox In A Box Food Awards - Jeremy 1

Jeremy wins a Lifetime Achievement Award!

Apr 20, 2023

This week, we had the pleasure of attending the Ox In A Box Food Awards – an annual ceremony in celebration of Oxfordshire’s incredible hospitality community…

For one night only, local business owners and associates of restaurants, pubs, bars, and cafes from all over town gathered at the North Wall in Summertown. It was an exciting night with everyone in black tie, relishing in canapes, champagne and wine as we eagerly waited for winners of each category to be announced.

Ox In A Box Food Awards - Group 1

Upon receiving a special invitation from Ox In A Box Founder Katherine MacAlister to do the honours of presenting an award, Jeremy attended prepared (as always) to take the stage. Little did he know… he was in fact the awardee, taking him entirely by surprise when called upon to receive Ox In A Box’s ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’.

Since opening Browns in 1973, Jeremy has been a leader in the independent restaurant scene. Katherine recounts, “[Browns] was so ahead of its time and I still remember the food I ate there to this day“… reflecting a concept Jeremy has carried down and incorporated into all three of The Oxford Collection’s restaurants; Gees, Parsonage Grill and Quod. She continues, “It’s his contribution to the hospitality industry and his dedication to preserving Oxford’s cultural heritage that makes him a worthy contender for the award.”

Ox In A Box Food Awards -Jeremy

The element of surprise did not catch Jeremy off guard, as he proceeded to share a few inspirational words about how his business ventures began with two and a half thousand pounds borrowed from his parents…

“You can still, in this day and age, start with next to nothing… I did borrow that money and get going, and manage to expand and do the things that I did without taking on venture capitalists and outside investors. My experience is that if you try to run too fast – if you take these people on, who offer you the world, it often ends in tears.

There are a lot of what I would call stars here tonight… it’s the people who work with you, around you, who really are the most important thing…”

Jeremy later shared an anecdote with the audience:

“When I sold Browns to Bass, they asked me if I would stay on for a year to make sure they wouldn’t screw up, so I said I’d do that. About a month or two, after I’d been ducking in for the odd meeting, they asked me if I would take part in a survey of what made our concept – restaurant – so successful. They took on this fancy analysis company from America, and I took part in the process. They interviewed everybody who worked in the place. They examined the menu, the colour of the walls… the whole lot. This company was paid £250,000 to analyse why this business was successful. I was then invited to find out what the results were. I said look, I don’t really want to be present, I’ll tell you what the results are.

You all know, here, tonight… exactly why my business – or, I call it our business – is successful. It was because of you.”

“The realisation of my dreams can only be fulfilled by having an amazing team of believers who run every department. My strong, deeply held conviction is that the ultimate success of a business is down to the commitment, professionalism and talent of every single person who works within it. I am very fortunate indeed.” – Jeremy Mogford

Join us in congratulating Jeremy next time you see him around…