Game is an increasingly popular ingredient with pub chefs. It is seasonal and healthy and growing in popularity with consumers, with game sales rising in value by 15.2% and the market now worth approximately £38m.
Position: Head chefPub: The Russell, Ellesborough, near Aylesbury, BuckinghamshireContact number: 01296 622618Website: www.nichollsonline.comDish: Roasted young partridge, smoked Old Spot bacon, leeks, potato and mushroomsClick here to see the recipeCost of ingredients: £3.15Menu price: £14.95GP: 70%
Why you chose this dish:"It is a man's autumn dish that is delicate enough to be enjoyed by women too. It speaks volumes about the actual quality of local produce that is available."
Background: Mark has been a chef for 12 years, with a CV including the Bell Inn, Horndon on the Hill, Essex; the Running Horse in Littleton, near Winchester and the Michelin-starred Star at Harome, North Yorkshire. He has worked at the Russell for 18 months.
He says: "Game is a seasonal ingredient that is becoming increasingly more popular and adds variety to the menu."
The pub serves on average 425 to 475 covers a week, with a wet:dry split of 40:60.
Mark believes he is a good pub chef because he has a love of food, a good temperament, leadership skills and a great understanding of food costs and gross profit.
Best-selling dishes include: Crispy Gloucester Old Spot pork belly, creamed cabbage and bacon, apple sauce; Kinip farm rump steak, chips, flat caps, vine tomatoes; fillet of Shetland salmon, melting potted shrimps, watercress salad; organic salmon and coriander fish cakes, tartare sauce; char-grilled calves liver, champ, onions and bacon.
"A perfectly judged dish."
"A simple but very accomplished dish."
"A pleasure to eat."