Reducing food miles and sourcing locally is nothing new for gastropub chefs (uh-oh, don't let Restaurant magazine's editor catch me using that term).
But it is fantastic to see the recent moves by pub companies such as Hall & Woodhouse and Wadworth to make increasing efforts to cut down on the food miles of produce used in their managed sites.
Hall & Woodhouse's new menus now tell their customers it is making efforts to reduce the travelling time of food to its pubs by half. The company is also championing regional producers on its menus, including Dorset-based Purbeck ice cream and Wiltshire condiment company Tracklements.
Wadworth is also embracing the regional-sourcing route, aiming to source as much local and West Country produce as possible for its 39 managed pubs. The company is now stating on its menus: "We aim to support local farmers and growers."
Both companies should be congratulated for their efforts in reacting to this increasing consumer trend and I hope other pub companies will be encouraged to do the same. It is not just an ethical thing to do but makes good commercial sense as well.
Jamie's chef is doing just fine
It is heartening to see the good trading progress of Aaron Craze, the chef who won the chance to run a pub from Jamie Oliver's charity the Fifteen Foundation. Six months in and the pub is serving an average 700 covers a week, a number many long-established operators would happily settle for. Aaron has obviously benefited from the fantastic PR of being featured on prime-time TV, but it goes to show that with the right support, business plan and attitude, this is a fantastic industry to work in.
See you next month,
Jo Bruce, PubChef editor
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