Rod Coverly had just a solitary pie dish on his pub menu – but a day spent in the kitchen with Jus-Rol Professional’s Development Chef opened his eyes to pastry’s versatility and business potential.
The result of his exclusive Jus-Rol development day is that customers visiting the 500-year-old George & Dragon Inn in Erlestoke, Wiltshire can now choose from an ever-growing selection of pastry delights.
This includes a Beef Wellington, Baked Red Onion Jam and Cream Spinach Basket topped with Goat’s Cheese using Jus-Rol’s Twisted Corner Basket; a pre-cut and scored puff pastry sheet, which enables chefs to create a stylish ready-to-bake puff pastry diamond case with just two simple folds.
“The day has given me a wider insight into pastry and has been really inspiring. Our customers want hearty, value-for-money dishes and are demanding more pastry dishes but I was unsure how to include them, everything is made to order here and I had concerns over the time spent preparing the pastry and then the pressure if it goes wrong.
The recipes we tried during the development day were incredibly easy and quick to serve which is great in a busy pub. I’m so happy to have discovered the Twisted Corner Basket, it is brilliant and brings the wow factor to a menu – I will be using it a lot to expand my pastry offering.”
Previously Rod always steered clear of pastry because puff and filo pastry “are extremely hard to make and get right” – a view that changed rapidly once he saw how easy using Jus-Rol is and the consistent, quality result it can provide.
Rod is now a born-again advocate of pastry: “It’s so versatile – you can use it in starters, main meals and desserts. I used to make pastry from scratch but I don’t have the time anymore. It is a lot more time and cost effective buying it in especially when using puff or filo pastry. The beauty of Jus-Rol is that it actually tastes better than if you made it yourself! It also means you can pass on the savings to the customer which provides added value for them.”
Rod also uses Jus-Rol’s pastry ovals because “it saves so much time and labour and enables me to make my pies to order. Jus-Rol is a respected brand name: we look for continuity in our kitchen and the consistency of the product lends itself to our ethos.”
Rod, who has a 40-year career in the catering industry including a stint as an executive chef in a 5-star hotel in South Africa, took on the George & Dragon two years ago. He admits his biggest challenge these days is simply “getting people through the doors to spend money. We are competing with ‘meal deals’ but try to offer good food, good service and good value”.
That formula means the pub attracts up to 400 customers for lunch and dinner every week. Rod has four kitchen staff on hand to cope with demand and his wife, Sandy, also supplies her culinary expertise by handling baking and desserts.
He says it is important to offer freshly baked pastry dishes because people “are demanding more authentic dishes: you can go to a generic chain and get served exactly the same dish over and over, no matter who’s cooked it. We prefer a more rustic feel.”
The days of just one pastry option are long gone and customers at the George & Dragon can now choose from an ever-lengthening choice including Chicken, Steak & Kidney and Apple Pies, authentic South African Melktert or Milk Tart and of course the Creamy Spinach, Goat cheese & Red Onion Jam Twisted Corner Baskets.
So far, his new approach is going down well with a growing army of pastry lovers across Wiltshire!
Gemma Buckley-Roberts / Jellybean Creative Solutions, 4 Bridge Street, Leatherhead KT22 8BZ
Tel: 01372 227 956 / Fax: 01372 383359 / email: email@example.com