Having run and owned a number of pubs, restaurants and catering aligned businesses during my working life, and fortunately achieved a considerable level of popularity and acclaim.
We always looked at the food that we prepared, using the yardstick, would we be delighted to have that quality of food put before us, whether we were paying for it or just eating at home.
The answer is a definite “Yes”, we like imaginative good food, we don’t spend a fortune on expensive cuts, just always buying sensibly.
If you buy in a Cash and Carry or a Supermarket, you have to understand the parameters that they work within, any supermarket type organisation has to sell within a time frame that often doesn’t suit a good chef.
Meat normally has to be hung for a suitable period of time to enable the real flavour to come out, some fish can be equally as tricky, though the time frame with fish is much shorter.
Getting back to my head topic, Vegetables.
Sadly the more I eat out the more disappointed that I become with the experience of supposedly dining in a reputable eatery.
Eating out should be a totally enjoyable experience, not a vehicle for a chef to cook a main course meat or fish and ignore or neglect the rest.
I will deal with one aspect at a time, rather than bore my readers with a monologue of the shortcomings of restaurant food.
Vegetables are not cheap and good vegetables are an asset to any meal, but if I go to another restaurant and have a great meat or fish dish with plain boiled or steamed vegetables I will scream.
Do these Chefs fail to understand that vegetables are an integral part of a good meal and should have as much care as the main dish.
We always trained the staff to brush certain vegetables with lightly garlic butter with lemon juice and chopped parsley, always use fresh garlic, not garlic salt.
Thinly sliced carrots brushed with marmalade in a little warm water so that they have a sweet orangey flavour.
A light sprinkling of caraway seeds on brushed garlic buttered vegetables, gives a wonderful flavour or any other interesting seeds for that matter, vegetables should be an experience not an add on.
Cooking vegetables with herbs and putting sprigs of parsley, basil and others shows that the vegetables have been prepared with thought.
We have always done this sort of thing for many years, giving us the edge on many places.
For many years I inspected hundreds of pubs and restaurants, to be told by the owner on a number of occasions that you don’t understand the quality of our food, sadly half an hour with his staff and chef and I could improve his operation substantially, relying on a few main course meats as their claim to culinary success is not the answer.
Please note I am not a food snob, but enjoy restaurants where all the thought has gone into make customers visit fun and enjoyable, our Byword was always, “People do not come here to eat, but to be entertained.”
If you think that way, all your customers will be good friends, we were booked up six weeks in advance many, many times.