Lately, its come to my attention that the line between a good and badly run establishment can be very fine indeed.
You see,Pubchef indisputably produces really tasty grub,yet his own business hadn't taken off.This puzzled me somewhat.
Over the course of the last few weeks I've had an inkling of a uncomfortable feeling that I might not be able to take a step back as was my initial intention,once the new business is up and running.Established.
We've introduced a simple menu of pubby type dishes at the New Pub,tasty but not overcomplicated.Decent ingredients,cooked with no undue fuss or unnecessary adornment.
Northumberland sausages with Chorizo and bean stew have been a good seller.Rustic and filling.Good for the farmers.
Last week I noticed that the new batch of stew which Pub chef had just cooked looked a little different.Slightly lighter in colour,a pale orange rather then the deep spicy red achieved when the chorizo releases it spicy oils..I commented. Pub-chef was indifferent.
Later that night, following a reasonably busy service the final order of the night was checked on.As the sausages were dished up I noticed a different aroma emanating from the steaming bowl,it smelt slightly sweaty,fatty even,not the expected spicy whiff.
Self:Is that streaky bacon in the stew??
Pub Chef:Yes,yes it is.
Pubchef:Because there was no Chorizo left.
Now if there's one ingredient fundamental to a Chorizo and bean stew (other than the beans of course) its the farking chorizo.
What is the point in putting Chorizo and Bean stew on your menu and then dishing up an imposter,a bacon and bean stew which bears no resemblance to the advertised dish??
Now in actual fact the bacon and bean stew was very tasty,there was nothing wrong with it as far as a bacon and bean stew went,but as a Chorizo and bean stew it undoubtedly fell short of expectations.
Self:Why didn't you tell me it was a bacon and bean stew and I could have written it on the menu as such.Now we've misled all the diners who've been searching belligerently and in vain through their food for promised Chorizo nirvana.
Pubchef is selectively deaf.
Later in the week pub-chef knocked up a gratin potato type dish with an additional ingredient: good old Cheddar cheese.It looked and tasted very good.
Later Ems came to check the spelling of Dauphinoise.
Self:Why do you want to know that?
Ems:To put it on the menu.
Self:Eh?We dont have any Dauphinoise potatoes.
At this point Pubchef chipped in:
Yes we do I've made some
Self:No you haven't, that's not Dauphinoise potatoes.
PubChef:Yes it is, in a round about way..
Self:No its not,put on the bloody menu what it is, there's no Dauphinoise potatoes without Gruyère and cream.Cheddar and milk does not a Dauphinoise make...
Surely its obvious that raising customer expectations in this way is asking for trouble?Anyone ordering a Dauphinoise is interested in the creamy fatty Gruyeresque decadence and is surely going to be disappointed when the dish falls short in the required ingredients?
You see the difference between a good and bad place can be very simple indeed.
Its attention to detail.
Last Thursday Pub chef went off on holiday,a cruise around the Med,no doubt looking forward to a break from my constant
We've had a really busy week at both pubs.
Part time Chef who lives in the village is working full time whilst Pub Chef is away.He's a bit of a dude,plays in a band and is encouragingly receptive to my helpful suggestions.He dodges around the kitchen in trendy Converse trainers.I was looking forward to the two week break and cessation of hostilities.
In fact this week was heading towards our busiest ever at the new pub with only Sunday lunch to go.
I love Sunday lunch service,its the easiest of the week(albeit the busiest) it has that Friday feeling,you know the one you get when you work normal hours?
I was just loading up my car having pilfered a few extra puds from the apprentices fridge at the Inn,when Chef appeared, phone in hand 'you've got a problem'..
The stoves had cut out at the New Pub in the height of Sunday lunch prep,roasts still in the oven and veg yet to be cooked.
By the time I arrived at the pub half an hour later it was obvious Sunday lunch was not going to happen.
Ems had to ring all the bookings(over 40- trade building up),and explain that we'd had an unforeseen equipment failure.The promise of free drinks for re booked tables softened the blow.Somewhat.
Part time Chef rescued the part cooked pork joints from the oven and took them home to finish the cooking.The beef remained deliciously rare..
We cobbled together a limited menu of starters and roast sandwiches,fish and chips(hurrah for the fryer),just in case any walk ins decided to stay despite the lack of a Sunday roast.
|Blue Peter stove.|
We found this little electric hot plate which was an absolute godsend and produced a hot soup and a couple of warm salads.
The kitchen had a war time feel,a keep the home fires burning in the face of adversity spirit,we were feeling quite proud of ourselves there was even a frisson of excitement when a table of six ordered.We even had a short sing song.
We managed to serve over 30 covers,we were buzzing....
Now you may be wondering what the problem was with the stoves.
If there's one thing fundamental to a fully functioning kitchen other than a Chef and a stove,its fuel to run the stove.
Surprisingly,in country areas there is often no mains gas supply.Indeed,*some* kitchens operate with the assistance of bottled/tanked gas.
Of course in any well run establishment measures would be in place to ensure the status of the tank/bottles were monitored weekly to ensure an adequate supply was in place at all times.
Some would say it was the responsibility of the Chef to ensure that all equipment within his kitchen was serviceable and fully functioning.
In fact Pub-chef had commented to me only a couple of weeks earlier how embarrassing it would be for those cooking,should gas supplies to the kitchen run short...
That's one big fat detail to fail to notice.The words 'hoisted' and 'petard' spring to mind..
|I might be in the corner for the foreseeable future|
Serendipitously,a text arrived to my phone from Pub chef at 11.30am, just half an hour before Sunday service was due to start:
'Just enjoying a G & T on the deck,overlooking the bay at Cannes'
You don't think?? Nah he wouldn't....Would he??
Chef was not amused.