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Summer at Queen’s: the perspective from the Conference Office

22 October 2020

Usually, the College is busy over Oxford’s Long Vacation as we welcome conference delegates and other summer bookings from across the world. This year has of course been very different, with the main site closed until late August and eerily quiet.

It was a strange time for our new Head Chef, Sean Ducie, to join. Sean started in June, but was initially unable to try out his new kitchen! Sean has 25 years’ experience of working in kitchens, most recently as Head Chef at a well-established events catering company in Oxford. He is keen to use the best seasonal produce and says: ‘Working closely with suppliers is very important. It enables you to see what ingredients are at their peak in the season and to be aware of new, wonderful ingredients coming through to be able to introduce them into my cooking. I suppose my style is to use ingredients when they are at their best within the season and to apply different cooking techniques and complimenting flavours and textures to create well-balanced, enjoyable food.’

Sean was finally able to start cooking in late August when we hosted some small events, albeit on a smaller scale than originally planned – and including individual canapé plates, to assist with social distancing! Staff and students have also been enjoying Sean’s food since the start of term. We look forward to sharing his new sample conference dinner menus with our guests. You can find out more about Sean and his culinary interests in this interview with our new chef.

Despite the summer closure, there was still plenty for us to do in the Conference Office team, working from home and liaising with all our customers to rearrange their events and rebook for 2021 wherever possible. We’ve missed being on site though and seeing the many familiar faces amongst our regular summer visitors.


We welcome any enquiries about holding conferences or other events at the College in the Easter or summer (July, August and September) holidays next year, and are open for bookings. There is more information on our conference webpages or you can contact us directly on or +44 (0)1865 279129.