Restaurateur Max Mason has a lot on his plate – after breaking his leg on a Greek island he is struggling to get fit to launch a new business in Bristol.
Mr Mason, 31, who runs the Big Bang restaurant in Walton Street, Oxford, has been hobbling around the city on crutches after crashing his moped during a recent holiday on the Greek island of Amorgos in the Cyclades.
The bangers-and-mash tycoon accelerated to overtake another motorcyclist and crashed off a cliff into a five-metre-deep quarry.
After receiving emergency treatment at an Athens hospital, he flew home to undergo an operation at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
The former Royal Navy lieutenant said: “A lot of customers have spotted me hobbling about, so I wanted to explain how I got my injury.
“I was three days into my holiday on Amorgos – the island of lovers – when I took a really bad tumble.
“I was being followed by this sweet old guy and he overtook me so slowly that I tried to accelerate past him, but I skidded off this cliff and ended up five and a half metres down this quarry.
“When I was in hospital in Athens the doctors there thought my leg had only been dislocated and they were trying to force the bones back into place, which was agony so I said ‘don’t worry chaps, I’ll get this done at home’.
“The staff at the John Radcliffe did an excellent job but I reckon I’ll be in plaster until Christmas – about 20 weeks, so it’s a real pain.
“Lucy Wendon has been doing a fantastic job looking after the restaurant for me while I was out of action.
“We are launching the new restaurant near Clifton in Bristol in August, so I’m hoping to be a bit more mobile by that point.”
Mr Mason said the Big Bang in Oxford had become such a favourite among local diners because it sourced its ingredients within a 20-mile radius, including sausages from Kidlington butcher David Woodward, and donated 20 per cent of its profits to sponsor local festivals.
He added: “It’s the middle of summer and we shouldn’t be that busy but we are doing 90 covers a day in a 70-cover restaurant – it’s amazing.”
In recent months, Mr Mason has used the Baby Bang, a mobile trailer, the sell the restaurant’s sausages at festivals around Oxfordshire, including the Cowley Road Carnival and the Cornbury music festival near Charlbury.
In 2005, the Big Bang scooped a prestigious national award, when it came first in the Sausage and Mash category of Restaurant Magazine’s Best Dishes Award 2005, beating more than 150 entrants.
The winning dish – Oxford sausages with carrot and swede mash and a rich red wine jus – impressed judges with its “keen respect for sausage heritage”.
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