Baron Robert Pouget
In 1979 I started a property company and got this site in Reading. We’d turned it into something like the Covered Market and in there one of the tenants had a cheese shop. I noticed how well he did. We were amazed at how much money he was taking and when he decided it was too much for him and disappeared, I decided to take the pitch. Between leaving advertising and taking over that pitch I had had several businesses. Of course, this cheese shop started to make money and we opened several of them and one of them was in the Covered Market in Oxford. Unfortunately, my life style was far in excess of what I was earning – I had three boys at public school, I had a very expensive wife, I had a great big mansion with a gardener and I was running an overdraft up to my eyebrows. I was in deep, deep trouble. I came back from my winter holiday in Barbados, I thought I am going to have to face up to the fact that I’m going to go bust. In the end I was only left with the cheese shop in the Covered Market and I was all on my own in there. It was 1986 and I started from scratch….
I come from Paris. I started off in London. I want to stay in Oxford with my children. Sometimes I find that people are not very good and I am lucky to have found work with Bobbie Pouget. It was I who found him because he was not looking for anyone to work in his shop. I was making cakes and chutney and I was trying to sell my products. The Oxford Cheese Company is a niche company who make their own chutneys. Bobbie Pouget liked what I made and I started to make my chutneys and cakes in his Stanley Road kitchen for his shop in the Covered Market.
Bobbie is very happy because my chutneys and chilli jam sell well. The customers like it. Since I started working in the shop I work in the kitchen at the beginning of the week when the shop is quiet. I need to be in the kitchen to control the production. Only I know when the jams are ready…