Product test - Chef Test

Related tags Taste Chef Anthony williams

Chef test
Chef test
In the first of a new series PubChef asks a panel of four pub chefs to put a range of new products to the test in their kitchens. Anthony Williams -...

In the first of a new series PubChef asks a panel of four pub chefs to put a range of new products to the test in their kitchens.

Anthony Williams​ - Head chef at the Williams Arms, Braunton, Devon

Lee Groves​ - Head chef at the Sherborne Arms in Northleach, Gloucestershire

Paul Smith​ - Head chef at the Fountain Hotel inTenbury Wells, Worcestershire

Kim McNab​ - Head chef at the Bridge@Fenny in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire

Macphie panna cotta mix -The PR:"The luxurious egg-free dessert solution also offers a high quality, authentic replacement for this time-consuming and challenging "scratch" recipe. Developed by chefs for chefs and ready to use - simply heat and cool for a rich tasting a and consistent end product. During the cooking process, chefs can let their imagination run wild, adding ingredients such as cinnamon and orange, rosemary, basil or coffee to the heated liquid."Cost:​ £50 for a 12 x 1ltr tray = 52p for a portion. Cooking:​ Heat the liquid to 85°C-90°C, pour into mould and chill for 1 to 2 hours. Contact:​ 0800 085 9800 or visit

Anthony Williams:​ "Overall I thought this an excellent product, which could easily be introduced to any pub menu. The instructions were easy to follow, with a satisfactory end result and I would recommend it to other pub chefs." 5 stars

Lee Groves:"This tasted like gritty blancmange. We put it on the sweet menu with caramelised orange & lime syrup. Could not turn it out of darioles, foil darioles, ramekins or a silicon mould."​ 1 star

Paul Smith:"No problems with the preparation - just heat and pour into the mould. The taste was wonderful. I am a big fan. We caramelised some dates and served them with the panna cotta, which went down very well with customers. Normally with a packet mix, panna cottas taste slightly synthetic. Not this one. It was superb. We would use it in the pub."​ 4 stars

Kim McNab:"Had a good flavour, though perhaps too rich and heavy. I'd serve it at the pub."​ 3 stars

iB Food's pistachio pesto -The PR:Cost:​ £9.30 per 400g jar. Cooking:​ Best diluted with cream, cheese sauce or crème fraiche. Contact:​ 0800 252522 or visit

Anthony Williams:"I thought the pistachio pesto was a good product and we found it's best use was to make a dressing."​ 3 stars

Lee Groves:"This had no garlic, basil or parsley in, just puréed nuts and oil. Too many suppliers are calling items pesto because they are blitzed with oil. I can't eat nuts myself so we got other people to taste. One dish with lime, chilli and mussels, the other pistachio ice cream. The latter won."​ 2 stars

Paul Smith:"We already use a lot of pesto in the pub kitchen but this had a better depth of flavour. You could really taste the nuts. Our chef used it to make a soup, which was a hit with our customers. You can use it to give vegetarian dishes a twist and I would definitely stock it at the pub."​ 4 stars

Kim McNab:"It wasn't very nice. The pistachio was too overpowering and it was neither one thing or another - not a pesto and not a sauce."​ 1 star

Nestlé Foodservices' Chef Fumet de Poisson (fish stock) -The PR:"The ultimate base for a quality fish stock or sauce and, with cod being one of the main ingredients, this Fumet offers a deliciously authentic flavour of the sea. Whether it's used for poaching, braising or as a finished pour-over sauce, this stock provides all the flavour with none of the fuss, so is perfect for busy kitchens, taking all the hard work out of preparation. And there are no fish bones to worry about."Cost:​ £18.30 per 2 x 900g. Cooking:​ Add water, bring it to the boil and simmer for three minutes. Contact:​ 0800 742 842

Anthony Williams:"We used the fish stock to make a prawn and Chardonnay sauce serve with some John Dory and mushroom mash. The product was easy to prepare but did not seem to have a delicate enough flavour."​ 1 star

Paul Smith:"It smelt like off fish. It had wheat in the ingredients and we are known for being celiac friendly. It was too salty. We wouldn't use it but it might be good for larger corporations."​ 2 stars

Kim McNab:"Very simple to use. We usually make our own so we wouldn't really look to stock it. But it tasted very natural and compared favourably with the real thing."​ 4 stars

Nestlé Foodservices' Maggi Dark Vegetarian Gravy -The PR:"Created with a flavour profile that complements both vegetarian products and meat dishes, ensuring that customers reap all the flavour benefits, regardless of whether they are meat eaters or not. This latest addition to the Maggi stable means that caterers now only have to make up one type of gravy to cater for all customers - regardless of dietary, moral or religious requirements."Cost:​ £6.99 per 6 x 300g case. Cooking:​ Mix the gravy, mix with cold water until smooth. Then whisk into boiling water and return to the boil and simmer for one minute. Contact: 0800 742 842

Anthony Williams:"This was easy to prepare, however the end result wasn't a pleasant experience. It had anunpleasant after-taste."​ No stars

Paul Smith:"This tasted meaty - so I don't know how it would go down with vegetarian customers - and was salty. Could be good for big pub chains."​ 2 stars

Kim McNab:"Very easy to use. We usually make our own gravy from beef stock but this was a good substitute to the real thing. The gravy was lump free and tasted great. You would never guess it was from a packet mix. My only criticism is that the label did not give information on whether the vegetarian gravy was suitable for celiacs."​ 4 stars

Tasting table -

Product:​ Sacla' trompetti pasta Description:​ RHM Foodservice has launched a range of traditional Italian pasta products under the Sacla' brand. There are 12 different varieties in the range. Trompetti is exclusive to the UK foodservice market. Due to the design of trompetti, these shapes offer the added benefit of holding more sauce than some other pastas. Price:​ £5.85 per 6 x 500g packs. For more information: call 0800 328 4246​ or visit

PubChef verdict:​ "A full hearty pasta; its large shape adds an excellent sponge-like quality for mopping up sauces. Suitable for a wide range of pub menus. Recommended." Star rating:​ 3

Product:​ Sacla' Coriander Pesto>Description:​ The coriander pesto comprises a mix of coriander, Grana Padano cheese and crushed pine kernels with a hint of chilli. Price:​ from £14 per case of 2 1.12kg jars For more information: call 0800 328 4246​ or visit

PubChef verdict:"The pesto offers a pleasing contrast of rich nutty and sharp chilli flavours. An interesting sauce which gives pasta dishes an added zing. Dares to be different."Star rating:​ 3

Product:​ Coffee Meantime Beer Descripti

Related topics Chefs

Property of the week


£ 60,000 - Leasehold

Busy location on coastal main road Extensively renovated detached public house Five trade areas (100)  Sizeable refurbished 4-5 bedroom accommodation Newly created beer garden (125) Established and popular business...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more