Each season brings with it new excitement, but Autumn is a favourite time at The Wild Rabbit; there’s an abundance in the hedgerows, in our market garden and a little further afield.

We asked Executive Chef, Sam Bowser what he looks forward to most, what we can expect from the new bar menu in the pub and why the new dishes on the à la carte menu are a celebration of the harvest season.

What makes the perfect pub meal?

The perfect pub meal is uncomplicated, comfort food that can be shared. The environment is another big part of a great meal; a good pub should be warm and welcoming with a relaxed, buzzy feel.

How did you go about creating the bar menu?

We draw on classic dishes and complement them with a few lighter things like whole plaice on the bone and the panzanella salad made with heritage tomatoes from the market garden at Daylesford Organic; this will evolve into a beetroot salad as we move further into autumn. People enjoy simple sharing dishes like the charcuterie and cheese boards, and sticky toffee pudding is always popular so we keep that on the menu. The bar menu is also influenced by our regulars, who asked us to bring back the sausage roll and brown sauce, and we always have requests for goujons! Our beef burgers with Adlestrop cheese are also always in demand.

What is your favourite regional speciality at this time of year?

I am looking forward to using plums and pears. Plums are a speciality of Evesham where I live – just 30 minutes from The Wild Rabbit – so we’re working on using damsons as part of the cheesecake on our dining room dessert menu. When the pears come in, as the weather cools down, we’ll introduce a warm and comforting dessert of roast pear and date cake with pecan caramel and Lady Grey ice cream.

What ingredients do you look forward to working with in the autumn and why?

As the weather draws in and turns cooler, I look forward to root vegetables coming through, especially Jerusalem artichokes. We have a celeriac purée in our grouse dish which has a lovely light flavour that you wouldn’t traditionally expect from a root vegetable. Mushrooms and ceps are also a favourite. From the hedgerows, we forage elderflowers and blackberries. I enjoy using anything that brings change and challenges us to create something new.

And then towards the end of the year we will be seeing British truffles. They are a luxury ingredient, but we use them in lots of different ways. We poach them, shave them and grate them into a variety of dishes and infuse them into sauces.

What is your favourite dish to cook on the dining room menu at the moment?

I tend to enjoy cooking all the new dishes, but at the moment the roast Yorkshire grouse with spiced Daylesford figs, crushed turnip, heather honey and game chips is my favourite. Grouse is a unique British ingredient and this dish also uses lots of techniques, which is interesting for a chef, and celebrates the best of the produce we have right now.