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Sunday, 20 March 2011

History teacher sacks Kitchen Hand and promotes self to Head Chef

You know that saying 'it never rains but it pours'? Well folks,last week we experienced a veritable monsoon.
Worryingly I lost track of the date and time in a frenzy of relentless cleaning,trips to the tip and Fired Earth paint(Chef valiantly attempted to steer me towards the B & Q own brand but obviously failed).
The refurbishment has not been unproblematic,for example:

  • Bubbling drains backing up under the floor of the gents and making an unsolicited entrance through the grate on the floor.Lately I seem to be dogged with toilet troubles,though the request that one of the tradesmen  'buff up my back passage ' did lighten the mood somewhat..
  • A central heating system stuck permanently in the 'on' position resulting in a full tank of oil 1000 litres (don't ask how much)being burnt in a week
Dysfunctional kitchen equipment including:
  • an oven door held closed by a hard spile (who says men cant multi task?)

  • Fridges running at a balmy English summertime 18 degrees.
  • Freezers packed to the rafters with 'food waste'.This in particular made me very sad( and for all you grammar pedants I'm not talking about the offensive apostrophe usage).

As did  a whole freezer dedicated to that doyen of English culinary hospitality: the venerable Yorkshire pud.
Some conveniently individually cling filmed

Some free falling

In the midst of the mayhem and the twice daily drive between pubs,something had to give namely the 45 minutes spent blow drying ones fairly long and very thick hair.An unplanned stop at the local hair salon and the request for something a bit shorter and less labour intensive resulted in a cut verging dangerously on the functional and tidy rather than the aesthetically pleasing.You know the sort of cut women of a certain age adopt when they've given up trying?
On seeing the new look Chef smirked and acerbically quipped 'you look like a history teacher'.I think that's a compliment..
On the plus side the hairdresser was delighted,as apparently people with hair like mine are the reason she was 'starting to develop weightlifters arms'.
Despite all this the new pub is slowly starting to take shape.

Told you there was a potential cosy corner..

We've inherited a 'Chef'(and I use this term folks in the loosest possible sense) whom I tasked to thoroughly clean the kitchen and dispose of all the foodstuffs therein.This Friday we managed to put on a very limited menu,just some light dishes and sandwiches.'Chef Manque'offered to knock up his secret recipe red onion marmalade to go with the pate.The other ingredient being Orange Cordial.This also made me very sad.
I've been watching him like a hawk,trying to prevent his hands coming into contact with any of the food items..his hygiene practices were imaginative to say the least.My eyes alighted on a couple of plastic nozzle topped bottles stored in the under counter fridge.You know the squeezey ones with which some Chef types like to squiggle on the plates(not my style at all).One containing Raspberry Vinaigrette,the other Mustard vinaigrette,both with snotty deposits around the bottle tops,similar to the stuff you find on a well used ketchup bottle.Ick.
'We wont be using these' I say tipping the contents down't sink.'Can you get them cleaned please'
Two minutes later I witnessed him with the nozzle in his gob,red cheeked and forcefully blowing the darn thing like a bugle.Which of course may well have been an appropriate accompaniment to the plethora of microwave pings which he had been accustomed to hearing.
'There must be a mustard seed caught in the end' says he.
Christ Almighty.
If I hear one more time about his Sticky Choccy Mocha Cake with Butterscotch sauce and white chocolate sauce and a drizzle of raspberry coulis, I might well ram the offending creation right up his bleeping jacksy.Along with the 'smoked salmon on a bed of creamy mashed potato,topped with a cheesey mustard sauce'(its lush,flies out)..
He's also been late for every shift.
He had to go.Being Sunday and Chef catering for 100 plus diners at the Inn, it fell on my toes to impart the dirty deed.
Our accommodating veg supplier offered to call over to New Pub as back up just in case he kicked off.I love it when ones custom is so valued that suppliers go that extra mile..'all part of the service' he said.
I declined of course.
I lay in wait for him this morning, hoping he would be predictably late as usual.He was.
Telling a thirty five year old that you have no confidence in his ability or commitment to do the job to the required standard isn't an experience I enjoyed.He left without much fuss though.Phew.

Later I felt a whole lot better when on my hands and knees I pulled three pans out from under the sink with food waste growing in them.Gawd knows how long these had been there.
Enough penicillin to treat the population of the local hinterland and beyond.

The lazy bleeper had it coming,its people like him that give cheffing a bad name..
Presently I received a text message of support via the landline (no mobile network at the New Pub) from Chef. Imagine this if you will, read in the Masterchef voice over mode:

'Hurrah,hurrah the troll has gone'

Cheered me up no end..

Oh and one other thing. I've had an unexpected assistant who has diligently painted with new found fortitude following his unforeseen five day suspension exclusion from school due to(and I quote):
'standing outside the assembly hall window,pulling faces at the Year 9 students participating in orchestra practice,whilst smoking what appeared to be a spliff'
I kid you not.
The shame.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

How to get rid of your customers

Running rural pub isn't a bed of roses.Frankly without a decent food trade you haven't got a flying feck of making it pay.
With that in mind theres a couple of pointers you might just want to bear in mind should you ever fancy chancing your luck in this trade.
Dog cage featuring bowl and niffy blanket
Firstly,try siting a feature dog cage complete with feeding bowl and assorted canine accoutrements directly in front of the bar.Does this cry out to you 'come and eat here'??
A complete no brainer.

How about this?Fancy a tinkle on the old joanna?

Potential cosy corner
A bad photo. I've managed to make this look better than it actually is.Note the plastic plant pot proudly displayed in the central position,the plant(a cactus)shrivelled and dusty, these plants are NOT attractive.Though it and the piano made cosy bedfellows .Perfect choice to see off your customers with a subliminal sign see below:
Traditional two fingered send off

or the modern one(limp) finger salute

Or how about a quick game of Scrabble to sharpen up your brain skills?

Clutter central
Not a terrible idea,but  to be sure of success please stack tatty boxes untidily in FULL view on a WINDOWSILL,illuminated by a tasteful bedside lamp.

Or how about a game of pool?

Delightful Pool view
Site your gaming table in full view of the dining area.Make sure there's some random table tops and other assorted junk in view,it will take the diners minds off any inconsistencies in the food.As will the disturbance of the flashing lights and nudging noises emanating from the pinball machine,any diner returning after this experience would have to be particularly determined.

Strict adherence to the above will  guarantee a high success rate.If customers continue to frequent your establishment perhaps you may need to resort to the following initiative..

Following our observations above,we tootled down to the nearest village to have a quick shufty round the other local hostelries.
There were two pubs,the first looked a little scruffy,paint peeling from the signage,but encouragingly some attractive looking lamps in the window.Love a nice flocked lampshade,swings it for me every time.
Approaching the bar we were greeted warmly by a jovial chap sporting one of those darts type shirts.You know the black short sleeved epauletted ones which flap in the breeze around the midriff area,skirted on the underside by a pair of low slung black polyester trews?
I requested a cup of coffee.
 Darts Man being a surprisingly perceptive chap, advised apologetically :

'Its only filter coffee I'm afraid,none of those fancy coffees here pet'
'Thats ok' I say 'Filter coffee's fine'
'Take a seat and Ill bring it over' said Darts man.
What a canny fellow I think.
Chef and Ems had beers.

We sat down in a quiet corner to plan our offensive with the new pub.10 minutes later my coffee still wasn't forthcoming.

'I wonder if he's forgotten' I say.
No sooner had the words escaped my cake ole than Darts man appeared with a tray bearing a nice cafetiere of steaming hot coffee and some spanking clean white crockery.

'Sorry about the wait' says he 'I'd ran out of milk so had to pop over to the Co-op to get some for you'.
My instincts were affirmed,what a canny fellow.

'That's no problem' I say.
The coffee was lovely.
Though to be honest I wouldn't have chanced a meal here.

The next pub was smarter in a branded chain pub sort of way.There was a bit of a Bet Lynch type behind the bar,though not as attractive as the telly version if that makes any sense.Stern and unwelcoming.St Michaels finest square print patterned blouse in shades of Jade green and Cornflower blue,lots of gold chains,gypsy earrings and overpowering perfume.Probably miffed because we'd disturbed her tea and Hob Knobs.
I threw caution to the wind and ordered half a lager.Another beer for Chef and Ems.
We took a cosy table next to the fire.There was a table of diners but disconcertingly two Chefs ensconced at the other table chatting.Not a good sign at 1pm.But then again not really much prep to do if there's only a freezer bag or two to snip open.
Ems noticed there was lippy on her glass so went to change it.Bets eyes narrowed as she tipped the contents into a fresh glass but disappointingly no apology was proferred.
We leant forward to continue our clandestine discussions.

'Oh no' said Ems 'There's lippy on this glass too...'
'Just go and ask her for a straw' I say..then in a quick change of heart: 'no go and ask her for a clean glass, you've paid for the drink you're entitled to have a clean glass to drink it from...'
Nobody should accept poor standards.

I watched Ems politely point out the offending red lippy.Bet picked up a glass from the shelf and thrust it towards her.
'Here do you want to inspect(heavy emphasis) this one before I tip your drink in???'

'No' said Ems, channelling her best Oliver Twist voice 'Id just like a clean glass please'

Bet made a big show of holding the glass up to the light,frowning disapprovingly as Ems returned to the table.

'I think she needs some new Geps' said Chef.

It appears there's not really much competition round this neck of the woods.


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