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Will Greenwood MBE, an interview,

with his Blake & Bull remanufactured Aga cooker

Will Greenwood MBE is a little out of his comfort zone. I know if I asked him about his illustrious career as a former Rugby Union player, playing in England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup winning team, his exciting media work and deep commitment to charity, he would talk for hours, and I would be keen to listen. Instead, I am asking him about his culinary ability in the kitchen.

“My wife, Caro, is the head chef in our house, and I am the sous chef. Yes, I can provide simple things for the kids, but that really amounts to being a pancake specialist and good at breakfasts. Claiming I can do anything else would have my wife spitting her tea out as she reads this. I just heat things up.”

Will, Caro and their three children divide their time between Maidenhead in Berkshire and the North Norfolk coast. They have been going to Norfolk for many years after Caro’s mum moved there from Leicester in 1997. Just before Covid, she decided to return to her roots and moved back to Leicester to be closer to Caro’s sister, but Will and Caro did not want to lose their attachment to Norfolk with its big skies, amazing beaches and happy memories.

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Aga cookers re-manufactured with new eco-electric systems

“So, we bought Granny’s house. We went through the planning process, knocked it down and rebuilt a new house in the Norfolk style on the same plot.”

This brief description belies the amount of work, focus and determination it takes to build a house and I can imagine there was a certain level of stress and frustration along the way. The process involves a large number of companies and craftspeople, each with their own responsibilities and timeline for the project.

“Building and renovating houses is a privilege, but it can come with issues. So, if there is one part that happens without problems it gives you more bandwidth to deal with the other areas which may be trickier.” 

When it came to the kitchen, Will knew exactly where to go.

“We worked with my great friend, Mark Stephenson of Life Kitchens, who built us a beautiful shaker style kitchen with marble worksurfaces and copper detailing. I say ‘we’ it was Caro’s stylish vision which took the lead.” 

As for sourcing a cooker, Will and Caro were already decided. Caro had discovered Blake & Bull through social media and had worked with them on their Berkshire house, converting their gas Aga range cooker to electric. They wanted a refurbished electric one in Norfolk too so got back in touch with Matthew Bates.

“Matthew is a rock star. He has been insanely helpful and does exactly what he says he will. Not that we have had any problems, but when I had a question to ask, I knew I could pick up the phone and be looked after. The team at Blake & Bull are awesome too, a cool crowd to deal with.

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Build your own cooker

The Greenwoods cooker is a 4 oven 'Modern' style in white. The trim is chrome, it's a classic look.

Build your own cooker with our cooker configurator. Choose style, size, colour and trim. Almost every cooker we install is unique - there are thousands of possible combinations.

The Modern style was launched 1974 and is still available in the form of the range topping ER7 model from AGA Rangemaster. Clean, timeless and one of the most recognisable designs of the 20th century. It wasn't broken, we haven't fixed it.

The Heritage is iconic style from a cooker designed in 1939. Perfect original examples painstakingly renewed in our workshop. These cookers are the ultimate expression of our craft.

The Greenwood’s white four oven eco-electric aga range cooker with hotplate sits beautifully in their new kitchen, looking both reassuringly traditional and effortlessly modern at the same time.

“Don’t ask me about the colour choice! My wife is the interior designer here, it could have been bright pink and I would have nodded in agreement.” Will laughs. “Said in the style of David Brent, Caro is in charge of mergers and acquisitions, and I am in charge of finance.”

Trust is such an important part of a house renovation or rebuild. There may be some people over the years that Will would be hesitant to recommend, but when it comes to talking about Aga range cookers, he is confident.

“If anyone is thinking of getting a refurbished model or needs their existing stove looked at, I always say you must speak to Matthew at Blake & Bull. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”

Will grew up in Blackburn and had no idea what an Aga was, apart from when he went to visit his farming mates. Fast forward to he and Caro buying their house in Maidenhead fourteen years ago which came with a gas Aga range cooker. Having been a sceptic, he was converted by the gas stove and is now a huge fan of the electric version.

“I quickly grew to love the aga range cooker and the electric conversion takes it to another level. We can just turn it off when we walk out of the door, adjust it depending on what we need and crank it up to cooking heat within ten minutes.

As with most Blake & Bull clients, the Aga range cooker is at the heart of the Greenwood’s home. Their rescue dogs – Bueller, Maud and Bear – snooze in their beds by the warming oven, Will’s shirts dry over it and the children’s underwear hangs on it before school.  

“Warm pants and socks on the Aga! What a luxury. I love leaning up against it with a cup of tea.”

Every Sunday, Caro cooks a big roast and the family gather around the table to eat together. It’s an important part of their week and a great way to feed teenagers with big appetites, which can sometimes mean roasting three chickens - one of the rare times the conventional oven gets used too. 

“We were lucky enough to spend Christmas in Norfolk with sixteen family members staying for a week, so we got our money’s worth out of the Aga range cooker! Caro’s sister is an amazing cook and she took over in the kitchen for a couple of days. She’s a chemist and a perfectionist so she adopts a proper Heston Blumenthal experimental approach. It was like eating at a Michelin starred restaurant.”

Cooking complex dishes on the Aga range cooker didn’t faze her as she has one at home, but she is now keen to talk to Blake & Bull about an electric conversion. Will is pleased.

“Once you have an Aga range cooker, it’s hard to go back to a conventional oven. I love mine.” 

We couldn’t agree more, Will!

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