Sweet Success - ensuring your pubs' desserts hit the sweet spot.

By Gareth Eddy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: English cuisine, Pudding, Desserts

Gareth Eddy, head chef at the Old Custom House at Padstow, Cornwall, and winner of the desserts category of the PubChef Awards 2005, offers his top tips on ensuring your pub's desserts hit the sweet spot

Winner of the desserts category at the PubChef Awards 2005,

Gareth Eddy, head chef at the Old Custom House at Padstow, Cornwall, offers his top tips on ensuring your pub's desserts hit the sweet spot

1. CREATE A PUDDING PREP AREA:

"By creating a set area for dessert prep you will improve the speed and quality of your sweets. The location need only be small but should be quiet and isolated to boost your chef's creativity."

2. HIRE THE RIGHT CHEF:

"Desserts are an important part of the repertoire of all chefs, though finding a good pastry chef can be difficult. I would recommend choosing a young well trained chef who is eager to learn. Challenge them to cook up an old favourite like bread and butter pudding before making a decision. I also take potential employees out to dinner and note what they order on the menu. If they are adventurous in their choices it's a good sign. A good desserts chef can give sales a real boost."

3. WHICH DESSERTS SELL BEST:

"I think those that offer a comforting element are the most popular. Classic sweets like bread and butter pudding, Bakewell tart or crème brûlée given a contemporary twist. People want to rediscover desserts from their past. If they try it and it's good then they'll keep coming back."

4. OLD CUSTOM HOUSE BEST-SELLERS:

Apple crumble with rhubarb ice cream

Rich almond cake and clotted cream

Crème brûlée

Sticky toffee pudding

5. DESSERTS TO AVOID:

Anything with fruits of the forest

Old stale meringues

Packet mixes like gelatine

6. KEEP IT LOCAL AND FRESH:

"Using locally-sourced seasonal produce is definitely a good idea. Fruits make a great addition to the menu and in Cornwall we have a plentiful supply of clotted and iced creams. The freshness gained from using local produce will also reflect in a superior taste."

6. PROMOTE YOUR SUPPLIERS:

"All the way through our desserts menu we flag up ingredients from Trevone Farm in Padstow. People have probably driven past the farm on their way to the pub so it's great for them to know that strawberries and creams on their plate have come from nearby."

7. SAY CHEESE:

"It's important to cater for all customers' tastes and not just those with a sweet tooth. Cheese is a great savoury dessert and there are an abundance of regional varieties."

8. PRICING YOUR PUDDINGS:

"To get my final price, I multiply the cost of my raw ingredients by three and a half and add VAT. If you're using high-quality regional ingredients then it's important not to be afraid of charging extra for them."

9. RELAX:

"Give your customers plenty of time to mull over their dessert choices. If you rush them they'll probably be too full to order sweet."

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