Food

Sargeant sets out food mission plans with Brakes

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sargeant sets out on consistent cooking campaign with Brakes
Sargeant sets out on consistent cooking campaign with Brakes

Related tags: Pub chefs, Cook, Restaurant

Ex-Restaurant Gordon Ramsay chef Mark Sargeant has revealed plans with foodservice supplier Brakes to help lower-skilled pub chefs develop high-quality menus they can deliver easily and consistently.

At a menu demonstration set up at Brakes' Kent headquarters for the Publican's Morning Advertiser ​(PMA​), Sargeant set out the issues faced by pub chefs in busy kitchens short on skilled labour.

It was too much to expect low and mid-tier food pubs with small kitchens, tight budgets and low-skilled chefs to put out dishes of a Michelin-star standard, when customers just want something well-cooked, tasty and consistent, he explained.

"We're not talking about Michelin-starred restaurants that have massive brigades, but a small kitchen in a pub that's got a small staff," Sargeant told the PMA.

Problem with the industry

BBQ
Pragmatic beef: 'Be realistic. It's not cooking by numbers'

"There's still a massive skills problem in the industry and there are no skilled chefs available anywhere. You need to look at what you can do in the kitchen pragmatically."

The chef, who owns Kent restaurant and bar Rocksalt, and Kent pub the Duke William, used a pre-made and pre-packaged short rib of beef product from Brakes to outline his argument.

"If you try to make enough of these for one day's worth of trade in an unskilled kitchen, you have to take the time to do it or you run the risk of losing a whole batch to poor cooking or customers are going to be served a dish that's poor quality or inconsistent."

Instead, pub chefs could put together dishes using pre-made elements and then scratch-cook other elements before assembling the dish.

"It's not cooking by numbers but getting one or two dishes on the menu that you can put out consistently time after time," Sargeant added.

Good for your pub

"It's doing something that's good for the pub and the customers. You can do something like this and build your menu around it – there may be a few dishes that you can cook from scratch but if you have one or two dishes like this on your menu then it's easier for you."

Some in the sector could turn their noses up at such an option and think it was below them, he conceded. But, realistically, it's about being clever and using such items as a base for the rest of the dish.

With the short rib of beef, for instance, Sargeant smothered it in a sticky barbecue sauce, prepared sweet potato wedges with chilli and garlic and served it with a kale slaw and sour cream.

Look out for the how to make the dish in an upcoming issue of the PMA​, along with a video showing Sargeant preparing the dish.

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