There are plenty of reasons to visit the pretty market town of Thame in the heart of the rolling Oxfordshire countryside, but if you are passionate about eating good food, we suggest there is really only one. What’s Cooking, located right in the centre of the town, is an innovative, imaginative food shop and kitchens, a stylish catering service and a haven for lovers of great food.
Our artisan food shop draws food connoisseurs from far and wide; they come to buy quality products and dishes made with the freshest, local ingredients, and handcrafted in our kitchens upstairs. We’re busy all day long, selling delicious food as fast as our chefs can prepare it; delightful cakes and cookies, tasty lunchtime snacks, ready meals to go and so much more. By popular demand, our catering service takes the What’s Cooking experience further afield, making the same high quality products available for all types of private and business events.
What’s Cooking is more than just a business, it’s a food philosophy; with our own kitchens and a team of highly creative, artisan chefs, we produce most of our food ourselves so that quality, freshness and provenance are assured. For the few products we buy in, we use handpicked, local producers who share our values and our commitment to good food. The result is food of exceptional quality and taste.
Like all great recipes, What's Cooking is a blend of ingredients that come together to create something unique and special. Everyone in the team brings different skills and experience, but we all share a common passion (some might say a healthy obsession) for good food; we simply love it, and we think life is too short to eat anything less than the very best.
An intuitive, self-taught chef, Tony is the vision and the creative force behind What's Cooking, and has responsibility for all aspects of food; his key skills include creative culinary flair, cooking to exacting standards, and food product innovation.
With more than 26 years' experience working in both the retail and production sides of the food industry, Tony’s pedigree is impressive. After a successful early career as a Senior Buying Manager at Safeway, he left the corporate world to fulfil his entrepreneurial ambitions. He founded the Italian delicatessen in Thame - now Umberto's - as well as niche businesses in the UK and overseas, producing and importing marinated olives, oven-dried tomatoes and chargrilled vegetables, which he supplied to major British supermarket chains and top delicatessens in London and the Home Counties. It was whilst Tony was visiting artisan food producers in France in 2001 that the seeds for what would become What's Cooking were sown; inspired by the rich local food culture and the tradition of the traiteur, Tony returned home with a vision to restore locally produced, quality, handcrafted food to its rightful place in the British retail and catering markets.
Tony’s entrepreneurial drive, pioneering spirit, and his ability to identify emerging trends and niche opportunities help ensure What’s Cooking stays at the forefront of artisan food, always delivering the freshest concepts and most exciting products to customers.
As demand for Tony’s food grew, What’s Cooking went from strength to strength, broadening the range of products offered and responding to customer calls for a catering service. More at home planning menus, overseeing production and maintaining quality, Tony was in need of a new team member to take responsibility for the practical day to day management of the business. He didn’t have to look too far - partner Sally fitted the bill exactly, sharing his love of all things culinary and with excellent organisational and business planning skills, she was the perfect choice. Today, Sally is an indispensible part of What’s Cooking, and as well as keeping Tony in line, manages the busy private and business catering service.