Jo Seagars Cafe in Oxford

I finally got to tick another box on my bucket list. But unfortunately I found the cafe very disappointing. There didnt seem to be the range of food that I had somehow expected. I chose the coffee cake but the icing was very gritty and the cake quite sickly. I was not surprised to learn that Jo was not there at the time. Im sure the cake I had would not be her usual standard, but then I could be wrong.
Further down the road we found the most amazing cafe in a little town called Cust. We didnt eat there but the food we saw looked outstanding.

Chef_vomo2, Jun 15, 5:22 pm

Yes food has dropped standard She is never there all the time
Not sure she lives in Oxford any more

Chef_harrislucinda, Jun 15, 5:38 pm

I agree. We took our very good friends from Auckland, who always take us to lovely cafe's when are up there way
The food was below standard, very limited choice & service was poor. We will not be going back.
Nice other choices in Oxford now.

Chef_miffycat1, Jun 15, 7:33 pm

The cake you choose could have just been a personal preference thing. Other people may like it.

Pink Sugar and Cafe 51 are both lovely cafés in Oxford. Well worth a visit.
Check them out online.
And yes, Route 72 (about 10 mins away) in Cust is very nice too.

Chef_-paradisefound-, Jun 15, 7:46 pm

Route 72 has lovely food, I've been there a few times for both lunch & dinner & have never had a dud meal. Every time you go past there's a heap of cars outside, which suggests it's a good place to dine.

Chef_samanya, Jun 16, 11:34 am

In the February e-mail Jo also stated that they (Ross and Jo) would be "staying on in Oxford" and pursuing other opportunities. :-))

Chef_245sam, Jun 30, 1:26 pm

I have a friend who lives in Oxford, she says that about Jo herself, not the cafe.

Chef_lythande1, Jun 30, 3:03 pm

Stopped going for lunch there a long time ago as menu was blah, but they do do a good takeout coffee with two pieces of fudge on top.

Chef_dogbond, Jun 30, 3:58 pm

Havent tried that place yet, but heard good things!

Chef_dogbond, Jun 30, 3:59 pm

Route 72 in Cust is really good.

Chef_frances1266, Jun 30, 6:26 pm

Give it a try & if you are like me, you will come away with a purchase from 'the Emporium'. I pop in there often, if I'm looking for a gift . takes ages to actually see everything, there's so much, but I nearly always find something suitable & not over priced.
I used to live in the Cust vicinity, for many years, so love what they have done with the restaurant/shop.

Chef_samanya, Jun 30, 6:51 pm

Chef_jonners2013, Jul 14, 7:57 am

I'm sad but not surprised . been hearing rumours for a while now.
I hope someone buys it & keeps Jo on as part of the cooking school.

Chef_samanya, Jul 14, 11:14 am

At least her cookbook - Jo Seagar, The Cook School Recipes - delivers. One of my fav's.

Chef_sampa, Jul 14, 12:02 pm

we went there a few years ago and the food was indeed average . asked about a girls trip for 10 to do a cooking day and the staff was almost rude not interested at all . no way to do business. So I am not suprised

Chef_boerin, Jul 14, 4:08 pm

I read today that the business has gone into liquidation. She seemed to be so successful so this was a surprise.

Chef_maximus44, Jul 14, 6:19 pm

Blaming post quake. However going by what people have said on here service was crappy and food very average so maybe she needs to look closer to home? I wonder how much time she actually spent there.

Chef_awoftam, Jul 14, 6:32 pm

Be a bit more charitable ' awoftam ' ? Apparently she hasn't been there very much since February when the writing was on the wall. I went to Facebook this afternoon and wished her well . no slagging please . never met her . just admired her endeavours

Chef_rosejenny38, Jul 14, 7:04 pm

I am not slagging fgs don't be so defensive! I just asked a question as a lot of small businesses fail when the owner gets distracted with other things. Cafes are extremely difficult to make a success of and if the food and service didn't live up to her 'Brand' it was going to be a recipe for disaster - no pun intended. People on here mentioned the lack lustre food and service going back before February. I have never met her however I do own several of her books and enjoy her cooking. It is sad when any business fails.

Chef_awoftam, Jul 14, 7:07 pm

I agree with you awoftam.
Living locally, I heard a lot of adverse comments, for a long way before February.
However in saying that, as I see it . Jo's enterprise really helped put Oxford 'on the map' & I feel really sad for her, whatever the real reason for liquidation is.
We can't forget how we all learned from her & her ideas.
I have a few of her books & they are 'go to' especially if I'm catering for a crowd.
Jo has taught a lot of us how to turn out scrummy food without slaving over the hot stove thing & we have to look at the bigger picture & I just wish her & her husband the very best.

Chef_samanya, Jul 14, 7:19 pm

did they go broke cos they didnt earn enough "dough"

Chef_kirkwood10, Jul 14, 7:22 pm

Absolutely. 'You Shouldn't Have Gone to So Much Trouble, Darling' is an old fav I pull out reasonably regularly and never fails to disappoint.

Chef_awoftam, Jul 14, 7:24 pm

Did you really mean "never fails to disappoint" ?

Chef_karlymouse, Jul 14, 9:24 pm

she sounded very tired on the radio this morning.
As someone said she could bake but perhaps no business sense, by the sound of things they are hoping someone will buy the business but let her run the cooking school

Chef_slimgym, Jul 16, 5:25 am

mm may be why she owns so much to IRD , big bill
The cafe was listed for sale in February at $390,000 plus stock. Seagar said if the business had sold then, it would have cleared the debt to the IRD.

Chef_pam.delilah, Jul 16, 12:39 pm

Life just isn't fair is it? You merely made a judgement based on what was said in posts numbered 2,3, 8, 12 & 16. Perhaps rosejenny should have called them uncharitable and taken them to task before doing so to you.

Those posts certainly informed my thinking, even before you posted.

Chef_buzzy110, Jul 16, 2:13 pm

It's a common opinion around the area that although the quakes are being blamed, that's not a major reason, but what business owner is going to acknowledge that it was performing under par in many ways?
I feel for them as their business was a draw card to the district & Oxford has boomed, over recent years with more cafes, & boutique type shops opening, as well as population growth & I'm equally sure that Seagar's enterprise was instrumental in that boom, by bring people into town.
I just hope that they get a satisfactory conclusion soon.

Chef_samanya, Jul 16, 2:27 pm

Just because you are a great cook - doesn't necessarily make you a good business manager.

Seen it happens before. Their passion is in the food.

Chef_maynard9, Jul 16, 3:34 pm

Oh dear lol no I didn't. I meant it never fails to deliver. I love the book. Ta for pointing that out!

Chef_awoftam, Jul 16, 6:17 pm

You don't get a large tax bill when you are losing money unless you stop paying PAYE, GST and ACC.

Chef_kay141, Jul 16, 7:19 pm

Yes, that happened to a friend of mine and it crippled his business but luckily he was able to keep going - and pay it off.
Does anyone remember the cake Jo made using Cameo Creams? It was amazing!

Chef_wasala, Jul 17, 10:50 am

I love that cake and have the recipe if anyone wants it.

Chef_kiwitrish, Jul 17, 11:57 am

Yes please kiwitrish! Sounds yummy.

Chef_jwjmummy, Jul 17, 12:07 pm

Here you go.


375 grams packet chocolate dark melts
2 cups cream
2 packets of cameo cream biscuits
(extra whipped cream and shaved chocolate to garnish)

• Grease and line the base of a 20cm springform cake tin with paper.
• In a double boiler saucepan or easier still the microwave, heat the chocolate and 1 cup of cream together until chocolate has melted
• Stir until smooth and cool 5 minutes.
• Place one packet of cameo creams in the food processor and run machine to finely crumb them.
• Add 2 tablespoons of the chocolate cream to moisten the crumbs further - press into the base of the springform cake tin.
• Whip the 2nd cup of cream until soft peaks form.
• Gently fold cream and chocolate mixtures together.
• Pour approximately 1 cup of this over the biscuit crumb base.
• Break up or roughly chop the remainder of the biscuits and sprinkle over a layer. Repeat with the chocolate cream then biscuit layer twice finishing with a chocolate cream layer.
• Cover with plastic cling film and refrigerate at lease 12 hours (overnight). (Cake may be frozen at this stage, allow 4 hours to soften).

To serve: run a thin hot knife blade around the edge of cake and remove, slide tin carefully, lift off base and paper and position on a serving plate.
Top each portion with a dollop of whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

Chef_kiwitrish, Jul 17, 12:12 pm

Thank you kiwitrish - just as well all the calories fall out when you crush the biscuits! I will give it a go.

Chef_jwjmummy, Jul 17, 2:29 pm

Chef_kay141, Jul 17, 4:41 pm

I guess it is called ' Tall Poppy ' syndrome ?
No one can recall anything positive of Jo Seagar ?
Everyone doing a dance around the ashes ?
I'm 77 so no vitriolic reply ? Just reflect ?

Chef_rosejenny38, Jul 17, 5:05 pm

I am with you on this one. A bit more education would do some posters well. I hope there health is improving all ready, having taken the leap they chose to take. I wish them well.

Chef_pickles7, Jul 17, 5:14 pm

Your blood is worth bottling ' pickles '. Thanks for your input in my ' fillings that freeze well ' thread. The vitriol was so amazing that my daughter was wanting to take up the cudgel ? Be in Raro this time next week .

Chef_rosejenny38, Jul 17, 5:33 pm

lol,. enjoy your holiday

Chef_pickles7, Jul 17, 5:49 pm

Cheers to you pickles.

Chef_rosejenny38, Jul 17, 5:51 pm

Enjoy your holiday once you get on that plane sit back and relax and leave all the crap behind

Mum used to regularly freeze cheese and onion sammies and egg ones and both came out nice
He will no doubt appreciate that his nana went to the trouble for him

Jo seems like a lovely person and l am saddened to hear things have gone bad for her and her family
We all make mistakes but thankfully not so public really feel for them and hope they can get it sorted soon and get on with their lives

Chef_griffo4, Jul 17, 6:34 pm

Wow, I can't believe it, another nice person on the recipe board. Thanks. My daughter dressed me down today - they are total strangers mum taking pot shots behind a screen . Get off it !

Chef_rosejenny38, Jul 17, 6:51 pm

It is possible that not all posters are total strangers. Some of the posts have come from disappointed customers, too many of them and no matter how nice you are, your business will not succeed.
Others may be unpaid employees or suppliers. Who knows?

I think "Tall Poppy" has nothing to do with it, to say that is pre-judging posters when you know nothing about them. Doesn't that put you and those you are supporting in the same category?

Chef_kay141, Jul 17, 7:34 pm

Several here, including me, have spoken well of Jo and her cooking ability and have wished her well. Others have passed a comment on their findings of her cafe and food in that cafe - their opinion and as it is their experience, quite valid. And their right. No one has been disrespectful, or personally rude about the lady, that I can see. Offence can be taken easily if one looks hard enough to find it. A point worth reflecting on perhaps.

Chef_awoftam, Jul 17, 7:46 pm

I agree, there has been criticism of the food, the staff and the service but none of Jo herself. If Jo herself hasn't been there much lately, then her manager and staff let her down. It happens often when the boss takes their eye of the ball. and gets spread too thin.

It seems we have posters who have nothing to add but prefer to criticise other posters. Self-righteous comes to mind.

Chef_kay141, Mar 7, 2:06 pm

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