He's the highly regarded chef at the helm of a historic waterside pub renowned for its enticing food and river views. 

James Plowright, head chef at The Bugle in Hamble, talks Michelin stars and McDonalds in our weekly meet the chef column.

What first inspired you to become a chef?

"I sort of got thrown into it as I wasn't very good at school. My first job was in a Michelin star restaurant and that is where my love of food started and grew."

Tell us a bit about your career so far…?

"I started as an apprentice at a Michelin star restaurant called Ockenden Manor (in Cuckfield, West Sussex). I did four years there then moved on to do a three-month placement at the two Michelin-starred Faviken restaurant in Sweden.

"From here, I took a position at The Montagu Arms where I stayed for three years, being promoted to Junior Sous Chef, covering all sections within the kitchen.

"After this, I was offered a position at Kimbridge Barn, part of Ideal Collection. I stayed here for a year to develop my management skills, then moved to another pub within the Ideal Collection group, The Bugle, in December 2023. Here I am given free reign to really explore my style of cooking."

What is your proudest career moment to date?

Proudest moment in my career is taking over The Bugle as Head Chef. I have always wanted to run a pub kitchen, doing my own food.

Daily Echo: James's Roasted Hand Dived Scallop with Warm Tartare Sauce & Black Pudding

What is your signature dish?

"Roasted Hand Dived Scallop with Warm Tartare Sauce & Black Pudding."

What is your favourite dish currently on your menu?

"Punters Chicken"

Daily Echo: James's Punters Chicken

Where is your favourite place to eat in Hampshire?

"Blue Jasmine. Delicious well thought out food."

What is your favourite meal to cook at home?

"Lamb Shank & Mash Potato."

What is your culinary guilty pleasure?

"McDonalds Big Tasty."

Which key ingredient is always in your fridge?


What is your favourite Hampshire ingredient or delicacy?

"ChalkStream trout."

Which chef do you most admire?

"Paul Ainsworth. I love his cooking, really wholesome food, done to the highest standard."

What’s your career ambition?

"To have a successful pub and business which people can come and enjoy."

What do you think will be the next big restaurant trend?

"Casual fun dining. not pretentious."

Daily Echo: Exterior, entrance