Charlie Hibbert

Charlie Hibbert

As Charlie was learning and growing into the chef he is today, his family was working on something monumental just outside the little village of Southrop. Thyme started life as an old manor and a few derelict barns, and it took fifteen years to turn it into the vast, fashionable destination it has become. With Charlie’s mother leading the project, working with the rest of his family to get Thyme up and running, it was always destined that Charlie would return to the fold when Ox Barn – Thyme’s restaurant – opened its doors in 2018.

‘We’re all quite young in terms of running a restaurant – I think I’m the oldest at thirty – but it’s been quite a smooth journey since we opened,’ he explains. ‘I managed to walk in when everything was pretty much ready, which was nice! But even since we opened in 2018 our cooking has become a lot more confident, and we’re now just focusing on improving the experience our guests have, rather than building anything new.’

Charlie’s food is clearly influenced by his time at Quo Vadis, with comforting, rustic yet clean and confident iterations of well-loved British and European dishes. His love for slow-cooked braises and recipes that require plenty of time to prep and care for come to the fore in his menus, but what he really enjoys is being able to use the produce from Thyme’s own 2.5-acre kitchen garden and larger farm. ‘Our garden and farm supplies us with a lot of what we cook with throughout the year – less-so in the winter, but we do have our own orchard,’ says Charlie. ‘We try to rely on ourselves quite heavily. There are also some great butchers in the local area, so getting fantastic quality meat is easy.’

As Thyme is a family business, Charlie has no plans to move anywhere else, which means he can focus solely on making Ox Barn his own and develop it into a true destination restaurant. With such beautiful surroundings and some fantastic, honest, seasonal cooking in the kitchen, we reckon he’s pretty much there already.