Menu Inspiration for Old Ship Inn

The second Pastry Perfect Panellist to win a Jus-Rol development day, Head Chef, Ben Burdass at The Old Ship Inn has been benefiting from a little culinary help from the pastry people, enjoying a day filled with expert advice and practical demonstrations on making the most of pastry’s limitless potential.

Standing in the kitchen of the family-owned pub, near Lewes in Sussex, Ben says the development day “was a fascinating and eye-opening experience. You can read so many books and never get the right ideas so it’s really good to get hands-on. Everyone enjoyed it and it gave us something to think about, we now have some good recipe ideas to develop our menu.” The pub serves some 700-900 lunches and dinners a week depending on the time of year, with pastry dishes an important part of business year-round through pies and tarts. The Old Ship Inn’s growing reputation for quality home-made food is based on Ben’s premium philosophy.

“The quality of ingredients is essential in a premium offering. Whenever I buy a product, I always go for the best brand – and that’s where Jus-Rol comes in. For instance, we don’t make puff pastry ourselves. It is laborious and easy to get wrong which we can’t risk when everything is made to order. Having used Jus-Rol for many years I was really keen to see what other products there were that could give my menu the wow factor.”

After talking through the pub’s operation in a theoretical workshop with Michelin star chef Lee Maycock, Lee, Ben and the rest of the catering team worked on a host of delicious pastry dishes including bar snack favourites Marmite & Cheese Straws, Asian Spice Chicken Samosas and Wok Vegetable Spring rolls and dishes such as Roasted Vegetable & Beetroot Pithivier, Seared Wood Pigeon in a Twisted Corner Basket and Oxtail Soup En Croute which would tempt any customer.

The development day helped Ben and the team to see pastry in a new light by providing “more ideas and different ways of using it on menus. The recipes were great and really easy which is essential when we are making everything to order. I was particularly impressed with the Twisted Corner Basket as I’d not seen it before.

It gives the dish a new dimension and it worked well with the pigeon as an alternative to putting it in a pie. I’ve since put the dish on the menu and the customers love it. We’ve also put on a Baked Eccles Apple served with Raspberry Coulis using the Jus-Rol puff pastry round which is proving a popular winter warmer and it’s so easy to make!

The day really helped us to get more out of pastry not just with recipe ideas but looking at ways of using off-cuts – to help us maximise profits. We made Cheese Straws which the customers found irresistible and discovered other culinary concepts such as Filo crumbs on Pan Fried King Prawns, which I had never thought of. I would like to use more filo on the menu as people don’t know how to use it at home, so it’s something different that gives a premium feel to a dish. The advice and ideas aren’t something you can read in a recipe book, so it is always good to see things being made first hand, which is why this development day has been so valuable to keep growing my business.”

Ben’s Signature Dishes:

Seared Wood Pigeon in a Twisted Corner

Baked Eccles Apple

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