OXFORD-Photo-Family-5-weeks-582Liam Jeremy Doran
Michael and Clarissa are pleased to announce the arrival of a healthy baby boy. Liam arrived on Friday 20th February, weighing 6pds10oz. We are all doing well and I am sure we will have him washing dishes or clearing plates in no time. Thank you for all the well wishes, cards and gifts. We have been truely humbled by the support, advice and generosity of so many lovely people.

Timaru Courier - July 17 2014 - timarucourier.co.nz

The-Oxford-Clarissa-Mike-DoranFood for thought... The Oxford owners Michael and Clarissa Doran take part in a cooking class in Northern Spain recently. PHOTO: SUPPLIEDA Timaru restaurant has had a sprinkling of international ideas. › It was a delayed honeymoon and a food and wine holiday looking at what people are doing and getting good ideas ›
— Clarissa Doran

The Oxford, on the corner of George and Stafford Sts, has reopened after three weeks’ closure while owners Clarissa and Michael Doran travelled to Europe and the team took a well›earned break.
While there, they took part in a cooking class in northern Spain and travelled to Ireland and London, looking at the way restaurants ran.
‘‘It was a delayed honeymoon and a food and wine holiday looking at what people are doing and getting good ideas,’’ Mrs Doran said.
As part of the Spanish cooking classes, the Dorans made a selection of different tapas or pintxos with wine to match. The Dorans have taken what they learnt on their trip and have started to inject it into the menu at The Oxford.
‘‘Over 20% of the world’s top restaurants are in the very small Basque country of northern Spain, the quality of ingredients and the food culture is incredible.
‘‘We’ve taken some of those ideas and put them in the menu,’’ Mr Doran said.
As well as experiencing some new cooking methods, the couple discovered much had changed in European and UK dining over the past few years.
‘‘While in London we visited the places we used to work at and a few others. We noticed fine dining has completely changed in the past 10 years since wewere there,’’ Mrs Doran said.
Mr Doran said the top fine› dining restaurants were stepping back from really formal dining.
‘‘This was really obvious. I think people are going out a lot more often and not just for special occasions.
‘‘With food style, no›one is doing the best cuts any more
— it’s more simple cuts of food prepared well using old cooking techniques, like salting, pickling and curing.’’
‘‘Brisket was big in London, as well as black pudding in Spain and Ireland,’’ Mrs Doran said.
‘‘One of our favourite finds was a restaurant in London that does smoked pork sandwiches.
‘‘It’s very relaxed dining and like a food truck in a building. There’s always a queue down the street waiting,’’ Mr Doran said.
The smoked pork takes about 16 hours to prepare and was just part of a wave of old food preparation techniques coming back into the restaurant industry.
The more relaxed dining style was also now evident in the North Island of New Zealand and was filtering south. Bistro and brasserie› style dining was the new fine dining, Mrs Doran said.
The couple have also noticed people were being more adventurous with their wine selections. It was not just the New Zealand and Australian wines people want to know about any more.

‘‘I think the popularity of craft beers has helped people to see there’s more to beer than lager and there’s more to cider, too,’’ Mr Doran said. › The Oxford is open 11am to late Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and 9.30am to late Saturday and Sunday. It is closed on Tuesdays.

SARAH JARVIS - July 3 2014 - www.stuff.co.nz/Citys-restaurants-starved-for-chefs

EXPERIENCE WANTER: The Oxford owner Michael Doran is one of many Timaru restaurant owners finding it hard to find experienced chefs.

A shortage of experienced chefs is causing headaches for Timaru's restaurants. For months Bennys Again owner Kaylene Gliddon has advertised locally and nationally for a qualified chef, with no luck.

"We interviewed five the other day and none had the skill level or experience we wanted. It's a big issue here in Timaru," she said. The last couple of times The Oxford owner Michael Doran advertised, locally and nationally, he had either no response or applications from people with no experience or real cooking skills. He believed the pressure of the job, the hours, and the pay could put people off. "It's not a cool job like it looks on TV. There's always a bit of pressure." Doran said young people especially did not seem to want to commit to a long-term career as a chef. "There's an opportunity to make a good living down the track, but why would young people want to commit to earning $14 an hour when they can go work at the freezing works for $20 an hour?"

Robbies Bar & Bistro head chef Lynne Riach believed the money that chefs were paid in Timaru was the biggest problem. "There are enough people being trained here but why would they want to stay in Timaru when they can be paid more elsewhere? "It's especially hard for a male chef with a family who could be working split shifts and only taking home $500 a week - that's just bloody crazy."

When Riach returned from Australia to Timaru a year ago she was working for only $1.50 an hour more than she was seven years ago. Fusion chef-owner Lindsay Bennett has not needed to advertise for staff for two years. As a chef working in his own kitchen, he does not have the same problems getting staff as other restaurants. "The ones I get applying really want to be chefs and are serious about their careers." Monteith's Bar owner Claire Edginton found it difficult to attract qualified chefs last year. "But we are OK now, touch wood. It's only when you're not OK that you realise how dire the situation can be." Nigel Bowen from Speights Ale House had problems finding qualified staff a year ago, but the last time he advertised, on a national job website, he had "more applications than ever". Bowen agreed that low wages were a factor in attracting staff, but said good employees who worked hard would be well paid by employers. One experienced chef, who did not want to be named, said younger people certainly struggled in the industry. "The unsociable hours and immense pressure doesn't help. "You can't train a work ethic, that only comes from experience." - The Timaru Herald


Timaru Courier - 4th April 2014 -digital.timarucourier.co.nz

A Timaru restaurant is now available for wedding receptions. 

Stafford Sts, recently held its own ‘‘fake wedding’’ to showcase what it is able to offer potential wedding parties. Owner Clarissa Doran said she and her husband, Michael, had wanted to promote the restaurant as an intimate wedding venue so in February they invited staff and regular customers to a ‘‘wedding’’ at the restaurant.
‘‘We can have 20 to 60 people here. ‘‘We’d had a few inquiries and when we tried to explain to people it was hard to visualise so we thought let’s have a fake wedding here,’’ Mrs Doran said. She adorned the dress she got married in just over a year earlier, and staff from the restaurant ended up being the guests, while regular customers became the staff. ‘‘It was a bit of a role reversal.’’ Timaru wedding photographer Callander Girl Photography(Rachel Callander) took photos, La De Da Weddings & Events was in charge of styling and musician music by Roselyn Cloake (Roselyn Cloake) played music at the event. Flowers were arranged by Absolute Flowers.

Mrs Doran said the restaurant could comfortably cater up to 60 for a wedding reception, with 30 guests being the ideal number.

‘‘I would also encourage the bride to add her own touch to the set-up of the restaurant to suit their wedding theme,’’ Mrs Doran said.

For more information contact Mrs Doran on (03) 688-3297

THEOXFORD-WeddingVenue 03

JUNE 2014

The wedding fair in June 2014 was really good and it was amazing to see all local businesses from Timaru supporting each other. Lets just hope we pick up a few weddings from it. It will be awesome... Learn more: http://theoxford.co.nz/

EMMA BAILEY - August 8 2013 - www.stuff.co.nz/Husband-and-wife-open-restaurant

When he left Timaru 21 years ago, chef Michael Doran had a feeling he would eventually return. He is back with wife Clarissa and has set up Timaru's newest restaurant, The Oxford, on the corner of George and Stafford streets, which officially opened on Thursday night. The restaurant/brassiere has been open for over a week to iron out any issues.

"We have both had big openings before where you are so busy and there are problems you have not foreseen. "We have been able to iron out any issues before the opening. There were a few issues we had to sort out in the kitchen," he said. The Oxford offers casual restaurant dining all day, while staying away from being a cafe or a bar. "It is real food, not fine dining, and we use as much local produce as we can. Fish is from the port, a local butcher makes our corned beef and Havoc Pork supply the pork and the cheeses are from Talbot Forest and Whitestone." The menu will change every six weeks.

Mr Doran left Timaru when he was 18 to go to university and ended up a chef. Mrs Doran was born in Sydney and worked in hospitality after school, heading to the Whitsunday Islands, the United Kingdom and then Queenstown where the couple crossed paths. They were introduced as she owned the Atlas Beer Cafe and Lucianos on Steamer Wharf while he set up Hamels in Frankton Park. "Mike proposed and we thought it was time for a change of pace and to leave Queenstown while we still enjoyed it. We both sold our businesses to our business partners 15 months ago," she said. "I always had a funny feeling I would come home, he said. "Strangely my brother and sister are here too now, my brother is a doctor at the hospital and my sister is a physio and on a farm in Waimate."

Mrs Doran was not initially sure how she would find living in the area but she has settled in well. "I really enjoyed it. It is a real community. "People genuinely want you to succeed and the support has been amazing. It has been quite overwhelming actually. "We live here (at the restaurant) at the moment, but we are owner- operators and very hands on."

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