New look £1.7million pub-restaurant for Bucks as work starts on extensive Polecat Inn refurbishment

The Polecat InnThe Polecat Inn
The Polecat Inn
Work has now started on the extensive refurbishment of The Polecat Inn in Prestwood with an opening date set for the end of March.

New general manager Damien Hughes and his colleague, George Tompkins (pictured) visited the site to see for themselves what the exciting £1.7m investment promises, and to start the recruitment process.

The Polecat is owned by award-winning independent pub group, Oakman Inns, which was founded with The Akeman in Tring and has venues across Bucks, Herts, Beds and beyond.

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Damien is looking for up to 60 part- and full-time talented people with multiple skill sets to join his growing team which includes a recently appointed Head Chef and returning Polecat team members who transferred to Oakman Inns when the pub was acquired.

Mr Hughes said: “I have already met a couple of students who are thinking of coming into the hospitality industry. They’re not enjoying university and want to start learning career skills that they can use anywhere. Oakman is brilliant for that, as we have an award-winning training programme supporting the full range of roles – from chefs and kitchen team members, baristas, bar and restaurant teams to managers and supervisors. A lot of people at Oakman have progressed quickly through the company benefitting from a progressive wage structure while training and developing their career. If you’re thinking of a change of direction, you don’t need to be experienced, but you do need a great work ethic and to enjoy working with the Oakman ‘family’.”

Opening at the end of March, The Polecat Inn will be holding three recruitment days at Prestwood Village Hall, (1 Wycombe Road, Prestwood, Gt Missenden, HP16 0NZ) on Saturday 2nd February 10am to 6pm; Friday 8th February from midday to 7pm and on Friday 15th February between 10am and 5pm.

The Polecat Inn’s sympathetic redesign retains its traditional bar and cosy fire places and includes a new glass-fronted restaurant accommodating an open theatre-style kitchen and wood-fired pizza oven. The gardens will be freshly landscaped, with an improved car park. Open from breakfast, their imaginative, Mediterranean-inspired, menu will flex through the day with freshly prepared dishes and specials using seasonal ingredients ranging from grilled meats and fish and a host of tasty vegan, vegetarian and children’s dishes.

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Damien’s first job with Oakman Inns was in 2011 since when he’s held several key positions.

He said: “I am very excited about The Polecat’s next chapter and I think the local community is too and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks when we hold our recruitment days and start to appoint our new team and begin their training so we’re ready for the opening at the end of March. The summer is going to be busy with plenty of outside seating to take advantage of the gardens. Our menu will be in safe hands with our new Head Chef, James Norrie, who’s been creating great dishes at The Betsey Wynne in Swanbourne for the last three years. Being the GM is a huge responsibility – I’m trusted with budgets and investments measured in millions and not thousands, but the company’ssupport and training means that I believe I’m well up to the task.”

Oakman Inns, which pledged last week to cover the cost of “EU Settled Status” for their EU employees and immediate family after Brexit, believes that their investment and sympathetic redesign will guarantee The Polecat Inn’s sustainability for years to come.