Goodbye Big Bang Oxford – Our tribute to Max Mason

July 11, 2014 · 1 comment

in News

Last week Oxford lost one of its great restaurants, The Big Bang, a bangers and mash restaurant in the Castle Quarter owned by Max Mason. I thought it was fitting to write a little piece to commemorate the loss but also to write a little tribute to the owner, Max Mason. The reason being that without Max, I am not sure I would be doing The Wandering Kitchen, he was a big inspiration for me to get back into food.

the-big-bang-max-mason

Max in all his sausage glory

Pull up a chair, get a cuppa and let me tell you a story about the first time I met Max Mason. First of all I need to set the scene, so I was born in Stoke-on-Trent, went to university in Swansea and then moved to Toronto, eventually ending up in Oxfordshire at 25. I had spent a large proportion of my time in Canada trying to convince Canadians that one I didn’t know the queen and two that living in England was nothing like a Hugh Grant movie. Growing up in Stoke and living in Swansea you don’t encounter that many Hugh Grant types.

Fast forward a few years just after I had moved to Oxfordshire and was still adjusting to southern ways, a friend of mine came over from Canada, one of my friends that I had told that life in the UK was nothing like a Hugh Grant movie. We spent the day in Oxford which turned out did nothing for my cause, first of all we tried to get into Christchurch College through the wrong entrance and a man in a bowler hat popped up out of nowhere and said in the poshest English accent “Can I help you?” Then we decided to go to The Big Bang (then in Jericho) and we met Max Mason, who bounded over in all his Hugh Grantesque floppy haired way and proceeded to enthusiastically tell us all about the menu, the sausages, the mash. My Canadian friend just looked at me to say, ‘you lied’ and I thought, who the hell is this guy?

My path continued to cross with Max as I started my other business, Fe-line, and we hosted some of our meet ups in The Big Bang (by now in the Castle Quarter), I also attended other events there, a tweetup and The Oxfordshire Project networking meetings. This is one of the things that I really like about Max and one of the things that really inspired me, was his sense of community, he tirelessly tried to get the people of Oxford together for various events, he continually had another idea up his sleeve, like The Oxford Beach, but always stuck to his principles of providing good quality, locally sourced food.

As I got more and more interested in starting my own food business Max was one of the people that I found really inspiring, because whenever I told people I wanted to get into food, everyone said “You need to talk to Max Mason.” I have worked in marketing for quite a while and to be able to get so many people talking about you is pretty awe inspiring. When I did tell Max about my Wandering Kitchen idea, he could have been closed and protective of his contacts and ideas but he wasn’t he was open and sharing and gave me lots of business advice and told me the people who I should speak to.

All in all I think it is really sad that Max has decided to close the doors of The Big Bang and move out of Oxford, but I also think it is a little bit of a warning to people, that one you need to support local independents because you don’t know what you’ve got until they’re gone and also we need to make it cheaper and easier for independents to run businesses in Oxfordshire.

Anyway off my soapbox, as a tribute to Max and as a promise to him to keep flying the good quality, locally sourced flag in Oxfordshire, we are putting on a special bangers and mash themed night in Rosie’s Tea Room in Abingdon on 23rd July, join us to give The Big Bang a fitting send off.

RIP Big Bang, good luck Max,

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bhupendra July 13, 2014 at 3:11 pm

That’s sad to hear big bang is closed, they had good food.I am glad I had food at theirs …

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