“The greatest challenge for us is keeping the balance between costs, the ease of preparation as we make everything to order and the appeal of the dishes. We are a traditional pub with a customer base that enjoys good, simple food. We’ve always been firm supporters of pastry; it’s versatile, full of flavour and makes a great alternative to potatoes so we were excited to get in the kitchen for the development day.”
Based in the rural village of Market Lavington, The Green Dragon is ran by Nicky and her husband Steve, who have spent the last seven years making the quaint country pub a popular venue for ale and west country food enthusiasts, averaging 300 covers a week with a food to drink ratio of 35:65.
For her development day, Nicky was joined by Chef Director, Lee Maycock, who has worked in five star hotels such as the Ritz Hotel, cooked for the England Football Team during the World Cup in South Africa and was awarded a Michelin star: “There’s always a time and place to use Jus-Rol. Chefs are working to greater time and cost restraints than ever before, you need that guaranteed result that will deliver on flavour and the wow factor so many customers seek. Jus-Rol does just this, leaving time to focus on other components within your menu, and giving far more flexibility when making dishes to order.”
Lee talked Nicky and her dedicated team through their current menu, discussed ideas for the business and armed Nicky with some new mouth watering pastry recipes using a selection of Jus-Rol products.
“Speaking to Nicky, it was clear how proactive she and Steve are in ensuring the success of The Green Dragon. The awareness of ingredient costs, commitment to making dishes to order, supporting local suppliers, putting on promotions such as a Senior Citizens’ menu to boost quieter trading times and holding events such as band nights and BBQs are all brilliant ways of driving food sales. Nicky had mentioned vegetarian food was a particular challenge and coming up with new dishes that didn’t revolve around cheese, curry or risotto, so we set about working up some new recipe ideas.”
Nicky says, “The whole day was fantastic; I got to work on some new recipes such as a Beetroot & Roasted Root Vegetable Pie Crisp, Chicken, Leek & Smoked Bacon Pie, Wellington, Roasted Sun Blush Tomato & Rocket Pesto Tart, Red Onion Confit Tatin, Toffee Apple Tart Tatin and Pumpkin, Ginger & Honey Soup en Croute. They tasted fantastic and were incredibly simple to prepare needing few ingredients and steps – essential when everything is made to order. The dishes are perfect for the specials board or occasions when customers want something a little different. Lee showed me how creative you can be with pastry and not to be afraid to try out new recipes on my customers. We especially loved the Toffee Apple Tatin as we have apple trees and lots of apples that need using.”
“Everyone loves scampi, steaks and Fish & Chips, but every menu needs updating with new dishes and I feel the development day has given me the confidence to introduce new dishes. We’ve come a long way from buying pre-prepared products and people’s tastes are changing. We have fresh fish delivered every day and we use a butcher next door for our meat, people like to know their food is regional, fresh and made to order. The development day recipes can all be made using ingredients that are readily available to us, from the Venison Wellington to Toffee Apple Tatin, and are simple to prepare and simply delicious – perfect for our menu.”
A fan of Jus-Rol sheets for many years Nicky was curious to see how the other products in the range could benefit her catering operation.
“Previously I’d only ever used Jus-Rol sheets but I was impressed with all the products, the fact the Puff Pastry Ovals and Twisted Corner Basket can be baked from frozen is really convenient, I never would have considered doing that and it saves so much time. I also couldn’t get over the size of the baskets they were really impressive and will make a great starter or light bite. Lee also showed us easy tricks with left over pastry, such as making puff pastry cheese straws sprinkled with smoked paprika, which will make a nice addition to our bar food and appetizers.”
Since the development day Nicky and her team have been putting the new recipes to good use.
“The customers love the recipes, both the Toffee Apple Tatin served with homemade ice cream and the creamy Chicken, Leek and Smoked Bacon Pie have been particularly popular with the colder weather. We’ve used the dishes from our development day as a basis for several new recipes; introducing a new Pheasant, Leek, Bacon pie to make the most of seasonal ingredients, a Twisted Corner Basket with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella which is going down a treat and a winter warming Vegetable Soup en Croute. It’s brilliant to have so much flexibility on our menu, we now have a range of pastry dishes for all customer tastes, from hearty pies to light and full flavoured vegetarian dishes, our customers look forward to seeing what we have on next! Since the development day we have experienced an increase in sales. Customers are especially buying more pies as the puff pastry tops look really impressive, as do the Twisted Corner Baskets. In addition, being able to cook the pastry from frozen has helped us to minimise waste. Thank you Jus-Rol and Lee for such an inspiring day, we really enjoyed it!”
Gemma Buckley-Roberts / Jellybean Creative Solutions, 4 Bridge Street, Leatherhead KT22 8BZ
Tel: 01372 227 956 / Fax: 01372 383359 / email: firstname.lastname@example.org