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Vol 01 No 01

Pub Food Guide INSIDE:

When Is Food The Right Answer? How To Run A Profitable Kitchen

Cut Waste and Grow Your Profits Carvery: Learn From Top Chefs Recipes, Advice, Safety, Suppliers, Recipes & More

The Good, Average and pub The Poor The definitive guide toThe running a successful food operation. – ONLY ONE WILL SURVIVE




Features 6 When is food a good idea?

Food might seem like a miracle cure for economic ills – but is it really? Food expert and restaurant advisor, Blathnaid Bergin, explains the truths about getting into food.

8 Get Food Smart

By effectively managing your food costs, your profits and reputation will soar. Here you will find proven formulas for success.

10 Control Waste

Don’t throw away your profits, learn how to reduce waste and make an even better margin.

18 Carvery Still Popular

Two award-winning carvery chefs explain why, with the right approach, carvery can still be a profitable component of your pub’s food operation.

22 Beer & Food

Spurred on by growth in the craft sector, beer is increasingly seen as the perfect accompaniment to pub food.

23 Award-Winning Food Pub

Feargal O’Donnell’s The Fatted Calf is an award winning food pub that is dedicated to sourcing high quality local produce.

25 In Season

Consumers want in season produce and pub chefs need to tailor their menus to the different seasons of the year – here’s how.

26 Kids Portions

Ditch the chips, goujons and oversized kids meals, parents want appropriately sized and healthy meals from pub kitchens.

27 Guinness Recipes

Mussels in Guinness Cream, Beef & Guinness Stew, Guinness Chocolate Mouse – the Guinness Storehouse provides its top selling recipes.

PLUS: 29 Menus 30 Food Safety 33 Labelling 34 Knife Safety



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Vol 01 No 01

Pub Food Guide Editor’s Letter Welcome to your first edition of Licensing World’s Pub Food Guide for 2011. Within these pages you will find valuable information covering a diverse range of food and industry-related topics. The idea here is simple, offer a single source of valuable food and kitchen-related information that is specifically aimed towards helping publicans get the most from food – whether you are seeking to add food for the first time, looking to improve your food sales or merely wanting to ensure your kitchen operation is at the top of its culinary game. As you well know, food has been flagged many times as a must have component of the modern bar trade. This is not entirely true, certainly food can be a valuable addition – but only if it suits your premises, your location, your clientele and, at the end of the day, it must justify the required investment by adding revenue. If you are not sure what food will contribute, or why you are considering food, then take time-out to investigate your reasons for opting to add food – the addition of a menu and an investment in kitchen facilities is not a miracle cure, something which too many publicans have already discovered to their cost. Yet saying that, the reality remains that without quality food many pub operators openly admit that they would not be in business today. I know of pubs, which not so long ago were primarily draught houses, that now have a food drinks business split of 80:20. This is an incredible transformation. Then there is the fact, which Fáitle Ireland frequently points out, that pubs are now the number one dining option for tourists to Ireland. As such, the importance of pubs within the food sector will surely grow in the coming years. The key word within each scenario however is quality, and quality requires investment, training and time. Food brings with it many challenges, it is a very different business model, one that requires constant scrutiny to ensure waste is minimal, quality is kept high, staff are properly clued in to the importance of service and the need to up-sell and, without doubt, a successful pub food operator must have an understanding of how the kitchen works and employ a right minded chef to run it. In this magazine we begin by asking an essential question that is often overlooked, when is food a good idea? Food consultant and restaurant advisor, Blathnaid Bergin, makes a very valid point: she says no publicans should rush headfirst into food, rather time should be taken to understand the implications to your business of the decision to offer food and how that decision may radically alter your existing business product. It is a valid beginning, from there we take you on a journey around the many different aspects of the food business, from techniques on how to properly cost your menu, to advice on how to cut waste, how to ensure proper kitchen maintenance, how to conduct a food audit and we hear from chefs who are making food work – from carvery to menu. We also engage with leading suppliers who explain what benefits they can bring to your kitchen and pub operation. At Licensing World we believe the right advice is essential in ensuring this industry has a prosperous future and there can be no denying that, for the majority, food will play an important role. Nigel Tynan Editor Licensing World


When is FOOD a GOOD idea? There is no doubt that the Irish pub experience has been utterly transformed in the last decade. From what was almost exclusively a place to drink, chat, watch a match and listen to live, usually local, music, the pub has become a real alternative to the local restaurant and is well on its way to becoming the nation’s top ‘eating out’ option. Food consultant and restaurant advisor, Blathnaid Bergin, explains how to get your pub food business right.

must get into food’, cry all the experts, ‘if you don’t serve food your pub will die a slow and painful death. If you don’t serve food you might as well not even open until 7pm or later. If you don’t serve food your pub will be like a morgue.’ All of those comments may well be true. However, it may also be true that if you get into food service when it is not right for your pub, your business will die a much faster death and, in the worst case scenario, take you down with it. So, when is it right for your pub business to consider ‘getting into food’? How do you know and whose opinion should you ask? There was once a time when we thought the British pub food experience would never catch on here, but catch on it did and like wildfire too. Thus, we now have some great food pubs in Ireland: The Oarsman in Carrick-on-Shannon, The Poachers Inn in Bandon, The Chop House in Lismore, The Ballymore Inn in Ballymore Eustace, each are pubs that are well worth a culinary detour. These pubs are supremely comfortable with food and are backed-up with great service and are passionate about using the best of local and seasonal produce. So far, so easy, there are however, other pubs which clearly struggle with food. There are pubs serving very poor quality food, complemented by equally poor service. It is striking in these cases because the intentions are honorable but the execution is woeful. As the pub industry has been struggling with the economy, drink driving legislation, cheaper drink in supermarkets, alternative social outlets and shrinking markets, the lure of ‘getting into food’ is proving very tempting. However, like the sirens who lured sailors to a watery end, food can deliver agony or ecstasy and sometimes both in equal measure. ‘You page  PUB FOOD GUIDE


Let’s get some common misconceptions about food out of the way first. The following are not good enough reasons to start serving food: • Every other pub in town is doing it • There won’t be anyone in the pub all day if I don’t • My wife/daughter/son/friend can cook • I have spare money and I want to increase the value of the premises by adding a kitchen • It’s no different to running a pub • I can just get in a chef and let him/her set it up • I want to increase my turnover and I can’t think of any other way to do it • I’ve been offered a great deal on second hand kitchen equipment • We can pick it up as we go along • It can’t be that difficult, anyone can cook a steak • There are dozens of people passing the door every day who could be eating here • The local restaurants are rubbish and I could do a better job • Everyone says food is the answer. The reality however is that food can be

very risky, especially if you are uncomfortable with the concept and/or have no idea how a food business works. However, the good news is that it is possible to serve excellent food in a very simple way as, contrary to what you might have heard, food is not an all or nothing choice. There are many levels of food service from a simple yet excellent soup and sandwich to a few hot dishes to lots of other permutations before getting to a full scale menu that needs a fully equipped kitchen. One of the most common mistakes publicans make is presuming that their menu must be like the menu in the local restaurant. Pub food is not restaurant food – it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Irish people and tourists alike have an image of what they will experience in their pub so the kind of food they are expecting is, by and large, food that has been traditionally served in pubs. Consider therefore the local market – if a great soup, sandwich and a few delicious cakes fit the bill, then that could be the extent of your – successful – food offering. A local cook who can make soup, bread, cakes and sandwiches may be the right answer. If on the other hand you are familiar with food and how it works and know that a slightly bigger menu choice would work then go for that.


Let’s face it, which of us would open an engineering works without knowing at least something about engineering or a dentist’s practice without having extracted a few teeth in a controlled environment? As astonishing as it may seem, large numbers of people appear to believe that food service happens

KITCHEN CONTROL easily. Just point a chef at the kitchen, toss in a few more bodies and let them at it. A publican does not have to be a chef or even know how to cook to add food service to the business. It is, however, absolutely essential that a publican understands fully how a food operation works, what systems are needed to manage and control it, and how to ensure quality and consistency of food and service. Confidence is also important, you must be confident that you can add a food business that is at least as good and preferably better than your competitors. As such, it is advisable that either you or your business partner have the knowledge and skills to implement and manage your food operation. It is preferable that one of you hold a background in the food or food service business, however if this isn’t the case you must have the ability to bring in someone you trust completely that can do the job for you and to the standard that you require. Similarly, before you add food, research your local market, are pubs that serve good quality food actually prospering? Are you experiencing heavy footfall past your front door each day as customers go to other pubs that serve food?


1. List five watertight reasons why food is a good idea for your business. 2. Ask your accountant to forecast how much the food will cost and by how much turnover will increase. 3. Study the competition in the area and assess how your business could compete. 4. List the skills/knowledge you already have and the ones you and/or your management need to acquire before starting a food operation. 5. Decide what kind of food you are going to serve i.e. create a menu. 6. This should ideally be food that you feel comfortable with. 7. Based on the menu, decide on the following: a. Kitchen space and equipment b. Kitchen and front of house staff c. Service style d. Crockery, cutlery and all other necessities to service that menu. 8. If at all possible get first-hand experience of the daily operation of a commercial kitchen. 9. Educate yourself on the following:

a. Planning workable menus b. Kitchen management systems from ordering through to service and how to have them in place before your kitchen staff begin c. Front of house systems d. People management – in particular kitchen staff e. All legal aspects of food service f. Staff training for food service i.e. Food Service Skills, Customer Care, Product knowledge g. Food costing and pricing h. Sourcing quality food. 10. Set up kitchen and front of house management systems before your staff are employed. They will operate within these systems. To conclude, there is hardly a publican in Ireland who does not know their own business very thoroughly and would spot a missing whiskey almost at a glance. The same level of expertise and control is even more important with food. Food, unlike whiskey or beer, rots very fast, it can be stolen, wasted, sold on, ruined by incompetence or even poison your guests. In the food business like any other, knowledge is power. u

Blathnaid Bergin runs The School of Restaurant and Kitchen Management providing a range of kitchen courses including Pub Food Management. For details visit or the Restaurant Advisor at Funding is available for some courses.




For all your tea and coffee needs contact Robert Roberts: Tel: 01 404 7300 Email:



How Can Pubs Get Food Smart? Caoimhe Ní Dhuibhinn and JJ Healy from Fáilte Ireland explain why food is an important component of business for Irish publicans and outline how to generate better profits from your kitchen.

Visiting Irish pubs is now top of the list of priorities for tourists and 66% of overseas visitors favoured pubs for dining in 2010. In 2009, €2 billion was spent by visitors on food and drink in Ireland, which equates to €2 out of every €5 spent on food. As such, consumers are very focused on both the quality and value of their dining experience and, with gastro pub dining a growing trend, there has never been a better time to provide a food offering in your pub. Local, regional traditional food and dishes are what visitors are looking for and it makes your offering more unique. Improving the quality and value of your food offering can enhance your customers’ overall dining experience while managing your food costs effectively will help you to increase your profit margins. The tips below outline how any pub can begin using food to generate profits.

Step One: Manage your Food Costs Effectively

The number one cause of business failures in the food service industry is inadequate cost control. Food cost is the single largest cost area, typically accounting for 31% of the cost of producing a meal (Howarth Bastow Charleton, 2009).

Price your Menu for Profit The food offerings in your establishment need to be correctly priced so that you reach your desired profit and that your customers receive value for money. There are two ways of setting your selling prices: • Percentage pricing or • Contribution margin pricing Both methods require accurate food costing. To ensure accuracy, every item used in the production and service of a dish must be costed, including the garnish and condiments. The use of standardised recipes is an invaluable tool when calculating the cost of a dish.


Inaccurate food costing will affect the net profit and if the mistake is serious enough you could be trading at a loss. A high percentage of businesses will use a combination of the above two methods to price items on their menus. Percentage pricing is the most common form of setting prices in Ireland and is based on a formula which requires certain information. Let us look at the formula and explain each of the components involved. Food Cost ÷ Food Cost% = Net selling price Food Cost is the accurate cost of the dish being presented to the customer. To calculate it you need to know the desired gross profit%. In Ireland most companies operate on a +70% gross profit margin, but you need to set a gross profit margin that is realistic and achievable for your business. Gross profit (GP) is the difference between the cost of the food and the net selling price of the item. Therefore if gross profit margin needed is deemed to be 70% then the food cost percentage is going to be 30%. The gross profit margin on a dish is the profit made on a dish expressed as a percentage. Net selling price is the sale price less VAT You must remember to add VAT to the sale price of the food. It is also crucial that you remember to remove it from food sales income before any calculations in regard to gross profit or net profit are evaluated. VAT on food is currently 9%. Contribution margin pricing (CM) is the monetary difference between the item cost and the item net selling price. This method is usually employed for high food cost items i.e. fillet steak, lobster, and prawns. In these cases if the percentage pricing method were used the high cost of the dish would make its purchase prohibitive to the consumer, therefore the operator settles for a monetary figure for the gross profit which would still make its purchase attractive to the consumer.

Percentage pricing formula: Fillet steak costing €8 at G.P. of 70% Food cost % 30% Food Cost ÷ Food Cost% = Net selling price + vat@9%= Recommended selling price (R.S.P) €8 ÷30 x 100= €26.67 + vat@9%= €29.30 Contribution Margin formula: Food cost + CM = Net selling price +vat@9%=R.S.P. €8 + €15 = €23 +vat@9% = €25.27 In this example the €15 would represent a GP % of 65% From the above examples the vendor would settle for a lesser gross profit in return for probable higher sales. It should also be noted that CM can be used where the percentage pricing creates a price that is considered too low and instead the vendor creates a price above the GP percentage. This tends to happen often with chicken dishes which are cheap to produce yet because of their popularity can command a higher sale price. These dishes help to offset other items where the GP % has to be reduced because the dish would be too expensive. Example: To calculate the gross selling price of a BLT BLT: Cost Price = 1.20 Gross Profit target =


Step 1: Establish Cost % i.e. Subtract GP%

from 100% 100% - 68% = 32%

Step 2: Apply formulas for net selling price


Dish cost ÷ Cost % 1.20 ÷ 32% =

Step 3: Add VAT to net selling price to get

Gross selling price 3.75 x 109% = 4.0875 (rounded €4.09) Net Selling Price of BLT = 4.09


Costing Tips: • Build in costs of cooking oil • Allow for miscellaneous items such as salt, pepper, vinegar, sauces etc • Review costing and pricing of items every 3-4 months. Just knowing how to generate prices using either of the above methods is not enough to guarantee that your business will be profitable. There are many other factors that need to be examined and monitored to ensure that desired profits are attained.

menus should clearly indicate to customers a different meal offering than your regular menu. As a result of changing dining trends and healthy eating people are very satisfied with smaller portions (smaller plates) and dishes to share, which can be effectively incorporated onto a value menu. Popular trends offering value to customers are: • Grazing/sharing plates • Tapas style dining • Offering a whole roast chicken including vegetables and wine • Desserts for two or four people to share.

Extensive menus can mean large amounts of cash are tied up in your stock. The current economic climate, the introduction of special value menus and the trend towards more casual dining means that the demand for extensive a la carte offerings has reduced considerably. Carry out regular stock-takes to ensure that you have the correct level of stock on hand and to avoid waste and theft.

Step Two – Improve your food offering

Tips on Smarter Purchasing

Effective tools to control the critical area of portion control are: • Using standardised recipes. • Use of portion control equipment e.g. spoons, ladles, cake dividers, crockery. • Monitor food returning on customers plates, portions may need to be reduced. • Batch cooking. • Incorrect portion control will affect your gross profit margins.

Improving your food offering will help to attract and retain customers. Start by looking at your menu; never underestimate the value of your menu as your most powerful marketing tool. This can be done through: Menu Planning • Design your menu to suit your pub, target market, staff and kitchen capabilities. • Keep it simple, less is more. • Remember consumers are choosing based on the perceived quality and value of the overall food experience. • A growing trend towards more casual dining now exists with share plate and tapas soaring in popularity. • The recession has brought out a need to be comforted by our food with caterers using cheaper cuts of meat cooking them for longer periods of time. This ‘nose to tail’ style cooking provides the home cooked comfort and value the diner is looking for whilst maximising profits to your business. • Local, regional, traditional foods and dishes are what visitors are now looking for and this will make your offering more unique to them. • Design your menu to tell a story about the provenance of food. • Train staff how to communicate the story of your menu to the customer to improve the overall dining experience and ultimately sell more food.

Value Menus as a Distinct Offering

It is critical to differentiate value offerings from your core menu offering. Too often dishes are taken directly from the a la carte menu and offered as the same dish and same portion size on value menus. Value

• Purchase within season – foods are priced at a premium outside their season • Try meeting suppliers and renegotiating prices or sourcing alternative suppliers possibly with smaller local producers who can deliver quality ingredients more frequently at possibly a better price • Source new suppliers that offer better prices without compromising quality • Keep an eye on the purchase prices of your top 10 items to make sure your supplier is giving you the best price • Use sales forecasts i.e. keep a record of what you sell and what you expect to sell each week. Utilise your point-of-sale technology to monitor sales • Check all supplier invoices to ensure you are not being overcharged and that you are claiming the correct VAT (if registered) • Manage your back door • Weigh deliveries on arrival. When it comes to stock levels – ask yourself: • Are your stock controls effective? • Are levels kept to a minimum? • What is the extent of the product range of ingredients you use? • Is your ordering linked to projected sales? A common issue for businesses is holding too much stock • You may find negotiating for smaller and more frequent deliveries helps cut stock levels extensively • Nominate one member of your staff to check in all orders correctly • Do you have a security issue in your business? – Check that food is not being given away, keep an eye on staff, regulars etc. Lock away valuable foods. Use cameras where necessary.

Managing Portion Control

Staff Meal Policy

If you offer staff meals, have a clear policy on what is offered and to whom and when staff are entitled to a meal. Ensure this is clearly noted in written employment terms and conditions for staff. Staff meals should be planned and costed in accordance with meal allowance deductions.

Waste, Energy and Water Costs

Waste, energy and water costs are overheads that need to be proactively managed as part of your cost control. Labour cost is the second most expensive factor in developing a meal, averaging 25% (Howarth Bastow Charleton) of the cost of a meal. Actions to reduce pay roll costs include: • Costing a draft roster each week against projected sales to achieve agreed labour cost percentage targets • Revise proposed staffing hours and shifts as necessary to achieve your target before posting the roster. You can always add additional hours if projected sales improve through bookings or through late notice of bookings, such as a funeral party • Reviewing skill requirements in tandem with simplifying the menu offering • Look at the balance needed between trained chefs and less experienced kitchen assistants.u

Fáilte Ireland currently provides a wide range of supports available at A number of online tools are also available such as:,,



Cut Food Waste &

Enjoy More Profit

Each year publicans lose thousands of euro in profit by unnecessary food waste. Here you will find details on how to improve portion control and implement better purchasing practices, preparation, serving techniques and how all, combined with post-cooking, can significantly improve how your kitchen operates. The key is to make the most of your ingredients and improve your food margins

Thrown away food is a waste of valuable resources and, for a catering operation, is a waste of a commodity that is expensive to buy and expensive to dispose of. Because food has a high carbon footprint, the Government makes a ‘conservative’ estimate that each kg of food waste costs €2, so if you dispose of one tonne of food waste each year it could be costing you €2,000. For the catering industry the yearly value of food waste could be as high as €200 million, explains a new report on the sector, Food Waste Prevention Guide.

Always Separate Waste

All food waste should be separated from general waste and stored in dedicated containers. This separation prevents other waste streams being contaminated making it easier to recycle all other waste streams. It is also important to note that the Swill Order & Animal By-Products Regulation bans the feeding of food waste to farmed animals (cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, deer, poultry or other biungulates). This ban covers any broken or waste foodstuff, including table, catering or kitchen refuse, scraps or waste.

Eliminate Where Possible

The best and most profitable approach is to eliminate as much waste as possible – no waste equals no disposal costs. Proper food stock management, which means ordering mimimum stock and rotating stock, menu planning and portion control are the most important areas for minimising catering food waste. One of the most crucial issues in waste prevention is training and motivation of staff. All employees must be made aware of the procedures and steps that should be followed. page 10 PUB FOOD GUIDE

Similarly, management must be committed to making resources available (staff hours, equipment) and chefs must be responsible for the implementation and management of any improvement options in the kitchen and associated areas. Where possible a ‘green team’ of chefs, prep staff, purchasing and management should be created with the expressed aim of reducing waste. Staff should be encouraged to provide practical suggestions and be made aware of all improvements and savings made. A good tip is for staff to learn to re-use excess edible food wherever possible and closely examine expiration dates so that food can be cooked first.

waste disposal charge for the year.

Calculate Your Waste

Stop OverOrdering

General Catering Costs

Check Every Delivery

Begin by separating the organic and general waste for a week and make sure you use a week that is representative of normal business levels. At the end weigh the bin and subtract the weight of the bin to estimate the quantity of food waste produced. Multiple your weekly value by 52 to calculate the weight of food produced over the course of one year. Include the quantity of out of date waste food that you dispose of each year – you might only clear out of date waste food on a monthly or bi-annual basis. Is this value larger than you expected? Catering food waste is often incorrectly ignored when it comes to other more obvious waste, such as plastics, cardboard and tin cans.

Disposal Cost: Multiply the cost of collection per kg by the actual weight of waste calculated. This provides the total

Fresh Food Cost: Assess the average cost of new food ingredients from a sample of invoices. Staff Cost: Though a little more difficult to calculate, include an estimate of the cost for staff preparing and dealing with food that is thrown out. One way to do this is to estimate what proportion of the total food that is bought is thrown out. Then estimate the number of hours that staff spends preparing food and the associated cost, then multiply this value by the proportion calculated.

One of the easiest and often most effective ways to reduce your waste is to check staff are not over-ordering. Start by checking your actual usage of ingredients against order numbers. By creating an accurate stock inventory and ordering system you will stop over-ordering and excessive food spoilage. Buying in bulk can be more economical, but if you don’t use all the stock it makes little sense as it leads to waste and associated cost. Use a ‘stock and order’ form in food storage areas to highlight what is in stock and what needs to be ordered. As ingredients are used the member of staff reduces the number in stock and adds to the quantity that needs to be ordered. This allows for accurate ordering at a glance.

All food deliveries should be carefully checked to ensure the food is correct, free of contamination, packaging is not damaged,


Staff must be trained to provide a clear description of meals to customers, that means knowing the size, ingredients and cooking methods. Such knowledge prevents incorrect ordering and helps ensure strong communication between kitchen and serving staff.

perishable food is within its best before date and cans are not pierced, rusty or leaking. Good practice is to temperature check particular foods, such as fish, to ensure it has been properly stored. Return any product that does not meet your standards and let your supplier know you are unhappy with the quality of the product.

Always Store Properly

All storage areas must be dry and clean. Coolers and freezers should be cleaned regularly to ensure that food has not fallen behind shelving and spoiled. Areas should be arranged to allow easy access to products, place dry goods on the ground on pallets or shelving. Vegetables, particularly leafy varieties, should be stored as far away from cooler condenser units as possible to prevent freezing. Store all soft fruit, except bananas, and salad items in refrigerators. All other fruits and vegetables should be held in wire baskets to allow air to circulate around, reducing microbacterial growth. Never store lettuce and tomatoes in the same containers or close to each other as tomatoes emit a gas that turns lettuce brown. Store fresh herbs by trimming off the bottoms and storing in warm water – this prevents wilting. Oils and grease should be stored away from strong smelling foods. Wash and prepared raw vegetables should be placed in airtight bags/containers to prevent dehydration. Store these containers at or below 5 deg Celsius. Cooked foods should be covered and placed on top shelves of the refrigerator, store leftover hot foods from different stations in separate containers. This minimises the chances of contamination and spoilage. When chilling meat joints for later use, slice the meat joint into suitable slices and place in a covered tray. It is not recommended to reheat meat joints as the centre of the meat may not reach the required temperature (70 deg Celsius). All meat should be used within three days of cooking. Do not allow your freezer to become a food dumping ground – things should only be frozen if they are going to be reused.

Cooking Techniques Help

One of the greatest sins of kitchens is over-trimming. Often prep staff need to be retrained on how to properly trim meat and vegetables, alternatively pre-prepared and

portioned product may help. Recipes: Whenever possible prepare food to order to avoid waste. Reduce batches: Cook smaller batches of pre-prepared pasta, potatoes and vegetables, this will instantly reduce the amount of excess food being discarded. Equipment: Keep the oven properly calibrated to avoid overcooking products, which then need to be binned. Menu planning: Plan your menu to use perishable items and items approaching best before dates. Consider how consumers’ food and beverage choices change with the seasons and plan your menu to match, hence less soups in summer and less salads in winter.

Staff Need Training

Staff must be trained to provide a clear description of meals to customers, that means knowing the size, ingredients and cooking methods. Such knowledge prevents incorrect ordering and helps ensure strong communication between kitchen and serving staff. Train staff to minimise the quantity of bread provided before meals and consider

reducing the size of starters, after all, customers who are still peckish will order desserts. Well trained staff will then be able to up-sell desserts more easily. The same applies to water, staff should ask ‘sparkling or still’ and not immediately offer a jug of iced water. u

Click for More Visit for more information on food waste regulations which came into force last year, ruling that all food waste must be segregated from other waste. Also log on to to download Less Food, More Profit, a useful guide to reducing food waste in restaurants and catering operations.



Failure to Maintain Kitchen Extraction Could Prove a Costly Lesson Poorly maintained kitchen extraction systems can become a major fire hazard and, with evidence that insurance companies are refusing to pay out if a fire is traced back to a grease-laden extraction solution, publicans need to be aware of the dangers of poorly maintained ducts. A fire in the UK that started in a pub kitchen recently entirely consumed the premises, however the pub owners were informed that their insurance provider would not pay out as the fire started due to poorly maintained kitchen facilities. Grease in the kitchen ductwork was the cause of the fire, compounded by a poorly fitted ductwork system, and as such the publican was in breach of their insurance policy – as they had failed to ensure proper maintenance of a listed fire hazard. Ventilation ductwork is a major potential fire risk in all kitchens and too many systems fail to meet modern fire safety guidelines – often due to irregular or completely absent maintenance. All too often kitchen fires have been traced back to the kitchen extract system that has never been cleaned since the ductwork was installed. Increasingly insurance companies are rejecting fire damage claims and refusing to pay out because having the extraction system cleaned regularly is nearly always a policy condition. Insurance firms can assert that warranties have been breached due to lack of proper cleaning regimes. Fire regulations place a heavy responsibility on publicans to ensure risk assessments have been carried out in their buildings, including identification of potential ignition sources; failure to do so can lead to hefty fines and possible prison sentences. In many cases systems are only serviced, maintained and cleaned when they break down. This is an unacceptable rick, if a fire breaks out in a kitchen it quickly spread along the grease-laden ductwork to other parts of the building. Regular inspections and evidence that a fire risk assessment was carried out that included the grease extract ventilation system and that a professional contractor cleaned the system on an annual basis as a minimum requirement is a good way to satisfy insurance companies that the right steps have been taken to properly minimise fire risk and safeguard the health of employees. Extraction systems should be cleaned and recommissioned at least every 12 months; however some systems may need to be cleaned even more frequently than this due to the cooking type and usage. u page 12 PUB FOOD GUIDE

Reduce the quantity of fat used in your kitchen

Changes to menus and cooking techniques can help reduce the quantities of oils and fats used in your kitchen:

The disposal of oil down drains, either in solid form from washing or from the use of macerators, should be avoided as this only transfers the waste from landfill to the local wastewater treatment plant. Wasted fat, oil and grease cause blaockages as they coat and accumulate on pipes in your premises. The cost to clean these pipes can be expensive.

•Can the food be pan fried instead of deep fried?

For disposal keep your waste fat, oil and grease separate in what’s called a bund – this is a container that can easily hold any oil that escapes from individual bottles. Always have a spill control kit to hand to cleanup any spills that may occur.

•Do you monitor the use of cooking oil? Are staff members instructed to be more conservative in their use of fats, oils and grease in preparation and service?

Always have fat, oil and grease collected by a reputable recycling company. Your supplier may even take back your oil for free.

•Review your menu – can you reduce the number of fried items? •Can the food be cooked by a different method? (grilling, baking, poaching, steaming)


10 Steps To

Better Profitability 1.

Go retro with comfort food. What is the top international hospitality trend? Comfort food and a return to old fashioned values is the top trend in hospitality right now. Recession weary consumers are hankering after a taste of those better bygone years and the good news is that this type of food is inexpensive to prepare. So make sure your menu offers pork belly, ham hock, Guinness stew and, that all time favourite, apple pie.

2.Make use of natural resources. As an island

country we have access to great, and inexpensive fish, such as mackerel, pollock, whiting and gurnard. BIM is a good source of information about cost-effective seafood sourcing and cooking.


Shop in season. Never offer out of season produce, it costs several times more to include these imported ingredients from far-flung destinations. Stick local and stick in season.

4.Don’t overfeed. In almost 50% of cases

plates that return with uneaten food is down to too much food on the plate. This is a huge waste of profits. Monitor the plates coming back and ask why food is being returned? If it’s not a quality issue it’s likely you’re being far too generous for your own good.


Use every last scrap. The downturn is no time for waste so make sure your team use every last scrap of food. In award-winning Dublin restaurant L’Ecrivain, for instance, Derry Clarke’s team let nothing go to waste. With prawns on the menu, they buy in whole prawns and use the tales for risotto and the heads for seafood stock.

6.Keep it simple. Pub customers don’t want elaborate, over the top dishes,

modern food is all about simplicity. So keep it simple and cut out those fussy and intricate dishes and you’ll find you’re already saving on labour costs.


Be energy efficient. Environmental efficiency should be a part of every modern on trade operation, but in terms of the kitchen there are a few specific areas to consider. First, never leave energy guzzling appliances running all day. Toasters, cookers, oven rings should not be left on all day, even leaving fridges and cold rooms open too long can dramatically increase yearly energy costs.

8.Work with your suppliers. Tell them what you want to

cook and the cost you want to produce it for and let them work out the how. Many of the larger suppliers have banks of stringently costed recipes showing how you can produce quality meals for less.


Tender your contracts. Amanda Horan, management development advisor at Fáilte Ireland, tells us of a chef who managed to save a walloping €12,000 from his food bill by tendering his dairy contract. Imagine how many meals you would have to sell to make that in profit.

10.Keep stock to a minimum. It doesn’t make sense to tie-

up much needed cash flow in large quantities of stock, keep perishable stock to a minimum and help reduce your waste. u PUB FOOD GUIDE page 13


Conduct a pub food audit

Before attempting to alter your food business it is important to conduct a pub food audit – this will provide a real insight into the good, the bad and the ugly components of your food operation. If you can answer YES to the following questions you are well on your way to success. 1. Have you experienced your own pub offering as a customer in the last six months? 2. Have you eaten your own pub food in the last two weeks? 3. Is your pub spotless, inside and outside? 4. If there were four steaks missing, would you know? 5. Are your toilets spotless? 6. If you were buying more food than you need for your business, would you know? 7. If your chef were buying food for his/her family, friends at your expense, would you know? 8. If food was being poorly prepared so that 1/3 or more was being thrown in the bin, would you know? 9. If your chef had a deal going with the delivery man which means that your business is being defrauded, would you know? 10. Have you watertight control systems at the back door: a. Trained and fully competent person checking in and responsible for deliveries. b. Invoice only deliveries. c. Scales to weigh meat, fish etc. d. Cross-checking system for ordering /invoices/ credit notes/goods in. e. Agreed delivery times with supplier. f. Waste management for food, water, gas, electricity, cardboard, plastic, glass, tin etc. 11. If money was being stolen from your cash register, would you know? 12. If your kitchen staff were helping themselves to your food/consumables, would you know? 13. Is all the kitchen equipment in good working order so that kitchen staff (including kitchen porter) can do their jobs easily and without constant improvisation and hassle through broken, half operating or lack of proper equipment? 14. Is your food of a good quality i.e. a. Do you serve a really good homemade soup – not made from yesterdays left over veg? b. Do you serve a good sandwich on quality bread, home cooked ham or beef, quality sauces or relishes? c. If you have a carvery, do you serve quality meat, fresh seasonal vegetables, homemade sauces, gravy and real desserts? d. If you have a carvery, do you monitor waste ruthlessly? e. If you have a carvery, are you making money on each meal you serve? f. If you have a carvery, are you confident that you are serving what your customers are looking for? 15. Are you using transparent refuse sacks for kitchen waste so that you can see what is being thrown out? 16. Are you using clear boxes at work stations to see who and where most waste is being generated? 17. Are your staff spotlessly presented and create a professional impression? 18. Do your front of house staff care about your business? 19. Do your front of house staff know and sell your products? 20. Do your front of house staff care about your customers? 21. Does everyone who is working in your pub care as much as you do about its progress? 22. Do you regularly meet staff to give and receive feedback? 23. Does the exterior of your premises look inviting to customers? 24. Does the menu/menu board look inviting? 25. Does your product live up to the menu promises? 26. If you were a potential customer, would you be enticed in? 27. Do you have a website/Facebook page? 28. If you do, is it attractive and enticing to web customers? 29. Do you know what people are saying about your business on Trip Advisor/Menupages? 30. Do you know your regulars who come in day after day? 31. Do you know what they like to eat, where they like to sit, how long they have to spare on having lunch, how they like their coffee served? 32. Do your staff know these things? Do they care? 33. Do your staff know that you appreciate them? 34. Do your staff have a nice space to ‘chill out’ before they go back to your customers? For information on The School of Restaurant and Kitchen Management visit or visit the Restaurant Advisor at




Work with the right food service suppliers Working with like minded food service suppliers, that understand your needs and can facilitate your requests, is essential when it comes to making your kitchen as profitable as possible. Here we detail leading suppliers who offer convenient and high quality products that will improve any pub kitchen.

freshly baked breads, easy and irresistible

Leading bakery manufacturer and foodservice operator, Delice de France, has grown from its origins as a small café to Europe’s largest provider of baked goods and a major recipe source. Today the company supplies over 550 products, including French breads, all other breads, sweets, viennoiserie, patisserie, savoury, buffet and base products. Louise Kerrigan, channel development manager for the company’s foodservice business, explains, ‘for our foodservice customers our range of French breads and classic Italian breads are the most popular, servicing the main sandwich and meal accompaniment occasions. Demi-baguettes, par baked and fully baked ranges, as well as our triple grain demi-baguettes, are most popular in Ireland. Ciabattas, wraps, paninis and our new innovative gourmet burger buns are proving quite popular for the pub trade.’ With an increasing number of publicans looking to benefit from the morning coffee market, Louise points out that Delice de France has a range of scones and muffins, which she calls ‘classic favourites’ as well as a newer range of wrapped confectionery. In terms of hot food ‘our chicken products are considered some of the best in the trade’ and are complemented with chicken wings, cocktail sausages, sausage rolls, a new range of savoury slices ‘and we can even supply the chips to complement the meal’, says Louise. The benefits to the publican of

working with Delice de France is ‘a wide range of quality products that suit any occasion from a breakfast offering to a mid-morning sweet treat, from the pub lunch to dinner, including accompaniments and desserts, right through to buffet and base products to help chefs build their own creations.’ At the same time Delice de France offers menu advice and planning and staff training to help get operators established or grow their food business. Delice de France products can be baked in standard or convection ovens (which are available through Delice de France), via pannini grill or MerryChef. ‘We also have a lot of bread and confectionery ranges which are “thaw and serve” and therefore suitable for those sites with more limited facilities. Many of our products are presliced or prefinished so all the operator has to do is defrost them.’ Delice de France delivers six days a week to all main urban centres and offers nationwide next day delivery. The company’s full catalogue is available online –

Excellence By Name & Nature

top quality ingredients to the pub sector – all of which come from BRC accredited factories. ‘We have over 100 lines of peppers, herbs, seasonings and spices, 90 different readyto-use sauces, relishes, and mustards. We also offer a full range of ambient catering-size foodservice commodities under our Newforge brand, such as fruit cocktail, pears, peaches, baked beans, tuna, tomato products – chopped and peeled – as well as tomato paste in a full range of sizes.’ The ethnic side of Excellence’s business has been growing in recent years and the company now provides a full range of Tex Mex products, Mexican, Chinese, Thai sauces and Coconut Milk. ‘In total we offer the Irish Foodservice industry over 1,000 products sourced direct from 135 different BRC accredited canners and factories worldwide,’ he says. Among their most popular items, Paul Ivory points to the Schwartz for Chef range of herbs, peppers, spices and seasonings. ‘This is a premium range of

product where we offer the pub trade an opportunity of turning ordinary meals into exotic and delicious dishes that are very simple to execute. Simply by adding a particular spice or seasoning before, during or after cooking you can create something new and exciting for your customer and it’s also a great way to increase margins. A sirloin steak can be sold for €14.95 or you could offer a “Smokey Mesquite Sirloin Steak” for €16.95 simply by sprinkling mesquite seasoning over the steak as it’s resting after being cooked.’ He points out that it is possible to add margin to even the simplest of dishes. ‘A bowl of chips or wedges is normally sold for €2.20. You can offer a bowl of seasoned Cajun or Arrabbiata chips or wedges, however, for €2.75. Our products can be used in the most technically advanced kitchen to a very modest kitchen that uses the most basic of utensils. Any pub kitchen would be well suited to our range.’ For more information, recipes and ordering details visit 8

The food service division of Excellence, an importation and distribution company, offers publicans a wide range that includes Schwartz for Chef peppers, herbs, spices, condiments and seasonings, Newforge canned fruits, tomatoes and tuna, Italian favourite Napolina, Noëls portfolio of essences, dessert toppings, Bicks relishes and salsa, Maggi seasonings, Basso vinegars and speciality oils, Hammonds sauces, Thai Kitchen and more. Operations director, Paul Ivory, says Excellence supply numerous PUB FOOD GUIDE page 15


Beef en Croûte (Wellington) by Delice de France

Crêpes (Delice de France code: CJ01), pastry (PUF2), beef fillet, ‘Duxelle of mushroom’ for stuffing (diced mushrooms, onion, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper). Step 1: Layer pastry, crêpe, duxelle, and then another crêpe. Place seared beef on top. Step 2: Fold pastry over beef to make en croûte. Decorate second sheet of pastry as you wish and wrap around beef parcel. Step 3: Glaze with egg wash and bake in a moderate oven for 40-45 minutes (depending on size of beef and cooking preference). Serve sliced to happy customers.

A Major CostSaving Solution supplies an extensive range of international branded catering products, leading names include DeCecco, Callebaut, Cacao Barry, Maeploy, Knorr and Schwartz, and also has attractive offers on extra virgin olive oil, cured meats and a range of international cheeses. A gourmet foods website, Fairfayre. com, is open to all sectors of the food


industry from the small producer to wholesale, distributors, delis, farm shops, independent retailers, cafes, restaurants, caterers, bakeries and of course publicans. states that by using the website ‘publicans can enjoy annual savings of up to 20% on their food costs.’ operates solely on the web, the extensive site features a full products catalogue to choose from, online purchase is quick and easy and is backed up by next day delivery to Ireland. u


Equipment Providers Offer Smart Solutions

Kitchen equipment providers are intensely focused on the needs of your food operation and modern catering machinery is easy-to-use, cost effective and comes with staff training, service back-up and even provide access to a recipe database through integrated touch screen technology.

The Right Level Of Service

Catering Innovation Agency combines more than 20 years of hotel management with two decades of smart catering equipment and ‘intelligent cooking’ solutions, from proven equipment manufacturers including Palux, Merrychef, Counterline, Alto-Shaam, Meiko and Convotherm. Sales director, Seamus Marnane, points out that Catering Innovation Agency is committed to providing the catering sector with ‘quality products that deliver reliability, offer low running costs and improve all food operations’. He adds that ‘we work closely with publicans of all sizes and offer tailor- made solutions for the pub market. Many publicans are looking to get into food or wish to increase their food revenue without having to employ additional staff. The combination of our Merrychef with a Convotherm oven, for instance, can allow a pub dramatically increase its menu with a kitchen that’s ventless, possibly chefless and certainly will cost less.’ Catering Innovation Agency is currently launching ‘Hot Mix’ a new combination oven that offers the benefits of being a mixer, cooker, blender and recipe databank. ‘It’s a step-by-step solution that allows an operator to easily create delicious meals by following the oven’s onscreen instructions,’ explains Seamus. ‘We’re currently launching this product in Ireland and we believe

it will be an ideal solution for many pub kitchens.’ Catering Innovation Agency works closely with publicans and will specify, supply, install, train and also maintain all its machinery, from a single piece of kit to the creation of a blueprint for the pub’s entire foodservice operation. ‘We believe in an all-round solution, that means we’re not simply a machinery supplier, yes we provide the equipment, but we also provide the staff training and we will even come back and retrain new staff – it’s all providing the right support to make sure your pub kitchen works. Access to our expertise can really pay dividends.’ Catering Innovation Agency offers nationwide delivery and full service back-up. Among the supplier’s pub customers you will find Willie Rath’s Teach Dolmain Bar & Restaurant in Carlow. Willie has invested in a Merrychef 402s accelerated cooking oven allowing him to develop a wide ranging menu consisting of everything from traditional toasties to paninis, steaks and fish – all cooked in the Merrychef. Similarly Laois publican John Egan of Egan’s Hostelry, Main Street, Portlaoise, combines a Merrychef with Convotherm ovens for an all round solution while also benefiting from a thermal equipment energy management system, as specified by Enda O’Donoghue from the Catering Innovations Energy Management team – the intelligent system keeps maximum demand below set levels and consistently reduces energy costs .

The establishment has also added a new thermal mixer and blender which can save recipes created by their chefs ensuring consistent results when making soups and sauces like béarnaise and hollandaise. For convenience the recipe is saved to the thermal mixer and can be reproduced again and again by staff with less culinary skills. In Co Tipperary, Tom Egan, owner of The Horse and Jockey Hotel, has invested in a Palux Kitchen. Tom says ‘Seamus Marnane and the Palux team provided a very focused design service. We are very happy with the quality of the finish, our kitchen is very easy to clean and our staff spend more time focused on customer requirements –that has to be good for my business.’

Real Money-Saving Solutions Founded in 1999 by Gerard Heffernan, GH Enterprises has brought a range of innovative catering solutions to the Irish market in recent years that offer proven savings in terms of labour, time and product usage. Among its large portfolio you will find a range of cutlery polishers (www.cutlerypolisher. ie) suitable for all types and sizes of catering operations that can polish anything from 2,000 to 20,000 pieces of cutlery each hour. Gerard Heffernan explains, ‘using staff to polish cutlery can be a major drain on resources, if staff spend just one hour each day polishing cutlery the installation of our machine will cut drying and polishing time by 90%, that means a saving, on average, of €3,157 per year’. The cutlery polishers are simple to operate, give consistent results and leave cutlery free of bacteria. Gerard adds, ‘when it comes to a demonstration we will install a cutlery polisher for a week in any interested business and let the caterer see firsthand how effective this solution is.’ Cost saving is also at the heart of GH Enterprises Vito Oil Filtration System (www. The company is the sole distributor of the system in Ireland that effectively doubles the lifespan of fryer oil by removing 99% of particles. The system consists of a special filter unit that is placed into the oil twice weekly during cooking, no supervision is needed as it filters and stops automatically. After a few minutes it is then removed leaving clean oil behind. The filter can be popped into a dishwasher for cleaning. The system has been highlighted as excellent by a number of catering organisations, including Euro-Toques, and has been named a ‘Product of the Show’ at CATEX. Gerard says, ‘the Vito Oil Filtration System is a very smart solution that can save a kitchen thousands in oil costs each year, it effectively cuts your oil usage in half.’ Des Reddy, owner of The Leopardstown Inn, is among the users of the Vito Oil Filtration System, he says, ‘in the present financial climate, with oil costs increasing, the Vito Oil System is a necessity to any catering establishment. I would have no hesitation in

recommending this unit to any businesses’. GH Enterprises also stock a range of barmaid glass washers, glass polishers and decarbonisers that reduce hot water and detergent costs. For more details see u GH Enterprises offers a range of ‘baby’ cutlery polishers – perfect for kitchens where space is a priority.



The Resurgence of CARVERY Done properly carvery is still a major attraction

There was a time when carvery was the dominant force in pub cuisine as white clad chefs served gladly accepting customers plates piled high with roast, spuds, veg and lashings of gravy. However poor quality produce, oversized, and then overpriced, portions saw consumers turn away from carvery and, similarly, large food wastage saw many publicans abandon this catering type altogether. However, despite what many believe, carvery’s story is not quite over, NIGEL TYNAN discovers that carvery is still very much alive and well in certain pubs – and prosperous. Despite what many food critics will tell you, carvery isn’t a culinary eccentricity of the past – at least just yet. Indeed, for many pubs carvery remains its culinary bread and butter and, once properly implemented, customers can still approach carvery with anticipation and not reproach. Richella Leahy is head chef at The Elm Tree in Glounthane, Co Cork. This award-winning pub, which was named the Licensing World Bar of the Year in 2010, has recently added the title ‘Great Carvery Pub of the Year’ as awarded by Unilever Food Solutions Ireland. Each day The Elm Tree will serve an average of over 500 carvery plates. Richella explains that a successful carvery comes about when you overcome negative customer perception. ‘Carvery suffers from a poor reputation; this is because the food is perceived as being of poor quality and downmarket. People have a perception that the food is both badly cooked and cooked too early – they feel it is left out for too long.’ Quality is key to overcoming this reputation – ‘a good quality carvery should have high quality food, batches cooked and offer a good selection of dishes and vibrant colours. Food must always look appetising and be well seasoned.’ Paddy Kennedy, head chef at page 18 PUB FOOD GUIDE

The Bridge House in Tullamore, Co Offaly, which has also earned acclaim for its carvery after winning ‘Carvery Hotel of the Year’, points out that ‘there are good and bad carvery operations just like there are good and bad Italian or Chinese restaurants.’ On a busy Sunday, between 11.30am and 6pm, The Bridge House will regularly serve up to 1,000 carvery plates. Paddy says that ‘certain people may not like the carvery concept because the food on offer in some operations can be limited. At The Bridge House we offer a large selection of dishes that are prepared to order in the kitchen, such as curries, omelettes, light snacks and hot sandwiches.’ He also points to the importance of food being cooked in the correct manner – ‘that means suitable vegetables should be chosen and cooked as required and not in large batches.’ Watery vegetables dishes, such as carrot puree, should never appear. He advises, ‘cabbage should be drained well and buttered roast carrot and parsnip holds and looks very well and glazed garlic potato is also suitable for display.’ The problem of ‘soggy vegetables’ can easily be overcome, says Richella Leahy, ‘by ensuring vegetables are fresh and replenished often’. Similar to menu practice, Richella advises

The Seven Deadly Sins of Carvery Award-winning carvery head chef, Paddy Kennedy, from The Bridge House in Tullamore, Co Offaly, explains the seven deadly sins of carvery service: 1. Over-cooked and dry joints of meat 2. Deep fried breaded fish – doesn’t hold and loses crispness 3. Carrot puree – bland, watery and tasteless 4. Baby potatoes – soapy and tasteless 5. Unseasoned food 6. Overloading plates 7. Not consulting with the customer about what you are putting on their plate which they are going to consume – I think they deserve an input into this.


(Left): The Bridge House Hotel, Tullamore, Co Offaly, winner of ‘Great Carvery Hotel of the Year’: (l-r) Mark McCarthy, business development chef, Unilever Food Solutions Ireland; Paddy Kennedy, head chef, Bridge House Hotel, and Jim Reeves, customer director, Unilever Food Solutions Ireland. (Right): The Elm Tree, Glounthaune, Co Cork, winner of ‘Great Carvery Pub of the Year’: (l-r) Mark McCarthy, business development chef, Unilever Food Solutions Ireland; George Hook, chairman of the judging panel, broadcaster and self-confessed carvery lover, and Richella Leahy, head chef, The Elm Tree.

FROM THE CARVERY all suppliers are listed, ‘the sourcing of food: this is very important as your end result is reflected by the ingredients. We list where the food we serve comes from whenever possible.’ She adds, ‘we re-stock our carvery every 15 minutes – this is vital for the overall appearance of the food and this practice ensures the food is fresh for each customer.’ Paddy Kennedy adds that ‘certain dishes however will last longer, such as beef stew, but these should be refreshed regularly into clean containers’. The issue of portion control, explains Richella, is not a major problem. ‘To be honest we’re not in favour of portion control with our carvery. Customers expect us to provide as much as they want so we are guided by this. However, we use portion controlled spoons, scoops and ladles. Also, where possible we use single portions for the likes of chicken, fish, wet dishes and pies.’ When it comes to choice, customers of The Elm Tree are offered six to seven dishes which normally include: a roast dish, chicken, fish, wet dishes, a vegetarian option, a pie and a burger. ‘Once you serve good quality food, which is cooked and seasoned correctly, you should have a very successful carvery. We have always been very proud of our carvery in The Elm Tree and aspire to maintain the highest of standards. Thankfully our reputation has spread and customers return. Our attention to detail and pride in this huge element of our daily business has been acknowledged in the receipt of our recent national award so it definitely shows that you get what you put in and a top level carvery is achievable.’ Paddy Kennedy says a good carvery ‘offers top quality joints of Irish meat which are complemented by a display

of fresh vegetables and potatoes. A carvery display must be clean, colourful and fresh looking. Staff should be competent and professional with a good knowledge of the product they are selling. It is also important to cater for special dietary needs with gluten-free sauces, stuffing and pasta available at all times.’ Sourcing of high quality ingredients, he says, ‘is of the utmost importance. We only use Irish beef supplied to us by our local meat factory, Dunbia Kilbeggan, who supply us with their premium brand of beef, Stockman’s, this is the only beef used in The Bridge House. Dunbia in turn source all their beef locally .Our lamb, pork and bacon are supplied to us by Keelaghan Meats who are a leading food service meat suppliers. Our chicken is supplied by Manor Farm. ‘We also source from local producers, Mossfield Organic Farm supply our cheese and our sausages are made locally by Fergus Dunne who rears his own organic pigs. We also list our suppliers on our menu.’ Paddy points out that customers still recognise the many benefits of carvery, these include: ‘Customers can see the queue in front of them and they know exactly when they will be served. They can see the food they are ordering and the price and can decide how much food goes on their plate. They also know they will not be delayed.’ Paddy Kennedy finishes, ‘a chef who is running a top class carvery should be proud. You are using top quality ingredients and serving hundreds of people every day. We have a huge base of regular customers who come back for one reason only – good food. Any chef who is running a busy profitable operation should be very proud, there are many food operators who would be very glad to have the turnover of a busy carvery.’ u

Pan Seared Fillet of Salmon, Roast Mediterranean Vegetables with Creamy Tomato Sauce 4 x 7oz salmon fillets skin on 2 table spoons of light olive oil 1 large courgette 1 large aubergine 1 red pepper 1 yellow pepper 2 small red onions 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes 2oz sundried tomatoes 2 cloves of garlic 1 bunch of basil Salt & Pepper Sauce 400g tin of chopped tomatoes 1 small white onion 2 cloves of garlic Ounce of sugar 1 bunch of basil 200ml of cream Salt and pepper Method Season salmon with salt and pepper, pre heat the pan with olive oil. Seal salmon – place skin side down first till lightly brown – turn and repeat on flesh side. Place on roast tray and set aside. Chop all vegetables not including basil into a 1 inch dice. Pre-heat roasting dish with olive oil. Place all vegetables in roasting tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place salmon and vegetables in preheated oven at 180c for 10mins. Sprinkle the vegetables’ with chopped basil and cook for a further 5mins. Remove roasted vegetables and drain, divide into four with salmon resting on top of each. Drizzle sauce onto plate and serve. Sauce Place all ingredients except cream in a pot and bring to simmer for 15 mins. Place mixture into blender and puree till smooth. Return to saucepan and add cream and bring back to boil to reduce.



CURSE THE DARKnESS or light a candle? Secretary general of Euro-toques, Ruth Hegarty, reveals the opportunities available to publicans from sourcing high quality local foods and informing customers of local suppliers. Ruth Hegarty is secretary general of Eurotoques Ireland, part of a European-wide organisation, founded by top chefs in 1986. Euro-toques aims to protect culinary heritage by promoting artisan production and local sourcing, defending food quality and educating future generations. In addition to organising food and wine-related events for chefs and lobbying on food issues, Euro-toques Ireland is deeply involved in education, providing food workshops in national schools and skills/ product workshops in catering colleges. Their major annual events include The Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year competition and the Euro-toques Food Awards (for producers), as well as regional producer events, overseas trips and industry workshops. Eurotoques works closely with relevant state agencies including Bord Bia, BIM and Fáilte Ireland. More at


My memory of pubs as a child is of drinking orange juice and eating crisps perched on a little round stool observing the scene. And this is exactly what my own daughter was doing a couple of weeks back as we watched the Mayo-Kerry football match with a group of friends in a little pub on the Erris Peninsula. In a remote and rural place like Erris, pubs seem to be much the same as they were 25 years ago, and long may it last, but the reality is that, in most places, the landscape for publicans has changed drastically and these are challenging times. At the Taste Council Food Summer School, held in Wicklow earlier this year, one Kerry sheep farmer, speaking about why he had formed a small marketing co-op with other local farmers commented; ‘You can light a candle or curse the dark.’ This had huge resonance for the gathered crowd of small-scale farmers and food producers, and it has just as much relevance for today’s publican. The challenges of rents, rates and running costs, drink-driving laws and of course recession are great, but like the

small farmers, you can’t stand still. You need to diversify and find your point of differentiation – and it is to these very small farmers and food producers you should think about turning to find it. While once upon a time the food offering in most pubs did not extend far beyond that packet of crisps, good food has made the name of many a pub in recent years. Indeed, many pubs have diversified almost entirely into food; think of places like the Ballymore Inn in Ballymore Eustace, Fallons in Kilcullen, Harry’s Bar in Donegal, all of which have become famous for their food. At the same time other pubs have become popular by preserving the ‘traditional’ pub format while serving a limited menu of simple, good quality fare; these often occur in coastal areas where the menu concentrates on local seafood, Moran’s on the Weir in Kilcolgan, Co Galway is a good example. At the heart of many of these successful food pub businesses sit local suppliers; small farmers and food producers who have already

stopped cursing the darkness and have started producing just the kind of food our pubs should be serving. The arguments in favour of serving food are many. But, if you really want to have an edge, local sourcing should be central to your food offering. Pubs are essentially local businesses. It is the one thing that almost every rural Irish community has left. Much of what makes our pub culture unique is the fact that the vast majority of our pubs are independent and locally-owned and all have their own individual character. Extending these traits to the food served in pubs not only makes marketing sense, it provides a simple formula for top quality food. Sure enough, publicans are not chefs, nor do they want to be, but any good chef will tell you, sourcing is everything. If you want a very simple food offering, with minimal preparation and labour, you need to put the time and effort into finding the right products. If you seek these locally, working with the suppliers to get exactly what you need, you will find food which is fresh, seasonal,


Much of what makes our pub culture unique is the fact that the vast majority of our pubs are independent and locally-owned and all have their own individual character. Extending these traits to the food served in pubs not only makes marketing sense, it also provides a simple formula for top quality food.

and above all, unique. A pub offering a plate of Irish farmhouses cheeses or charcuterie, a smoked salmon brown bread open sandwich, or a bowl of locally caught steamed mussels already stands out a mile from its competitors. Here the ingredients, rather than the cooking, do the talking. The pub is the icon, the poster boy, of Irish culture. The atmosphere of warmth, conviviality and craic that the image of the pub evokes is well-recognised and much sought after. It is, without a doubt, what most tourists seek when they visit Ireland. It is also an image which is very real, not just some clever marketing ploy. These pubs and that atmosphere really do exist, and Irish people love and treasure their pubs more than anyone. So a tourist can visit an Irish pub and find so much of what they are seeking: the atmosphere, the craic, the Irish people, they can sample a pint of Guinness and maybe even hear some traditional music. But the fact is, the idea of drinking on its own is foreign to most cultures and they will not be sticking around to order round after round of pints. They also need to eat and, for most Europeans, they put a high value on enjoying good food. So do they then wander off in the rain to find a bite to eat or, worse, stay and eat some generic, mass-produced food with no Irish character whatsoever? What if this truly ‘Irish’ experience was completed with a meal of regionally identifiable, locally sourced food? If they could sit by the fire and sample a bowl of chowder, some soda bread, a game terrine and a salad of locally grown leaves, boxty and dry-cured local bacon – then you would have a satisfied customer with something to talk about. As one of our most internationally recognised motifs, the Irish pub could make a huge contribution to building our reputation for good food and value, and we should ensure that where food is served in pubs it does justice to the image of Ireland we wish to portray. But the international tourist market is only a small part of the picture. As domestic tourists, when we travel around Ireland, we want to experience something unique to the places we are visiting, something that fits with the character of the area; people want to try oysters in Galway, freshly caught fish in Dingle or Kinsale, mountain lamb in Wicklow, farmhouse cheese in West Cork. But nowadays there are more profound reasons for wanting to see local produce on the menu. While local-sourcing has been

growing in popularity in recent years, since harder economic times have set in, there is a more sincere desire to support local businesses and efforts are noted by visitors. Feargal O’Donnell, Euro-toques chef turned publican and owner of The Fatted Calf in Glasson, Co Westmeath (winner of the Fáilte Ireland Bar Food Award at the Licensing World Bar Awards 2011) says that domestic tourists really appreciate efforts to source locally and are encouraged to see regional suppliers named on menus. For O’Donnell, however, it is when it comes to local business that his local sourcing policy pays most dividends. ‘Pubs exist as social hubs and people come here for social interaction. Our sourcing policies mean we are interacting with our customers on a very deep level; in many cases the people growing our food are also our customers, they are known and locally recognised, their businesses support other local businesses, so there is a local circle of trade. People acknowledge that you are contributing to the economy of the area and they have an appreciation for that’. The ‘local food multiplier’ is well worth noting. A study by the New Economics Foundation in London showed that €10 spent in a local food business is worth €25 to the local economy, as opposed to €14 when the same money is spent in a supermarket multiple.

This is equally relevant to you as a publican. While using local suppliers benefits you from a marketing perspective, as you are seen to be supporting local business and offering quality food, it also comes back to you in a deeper way; the farmer you buy from may well spend some of the money on a pint or two in your pub, but he will also buy a newspaper in the local shop and animal feed from the local agri supplier, get his car serviced in the local garage and employ local young people at harvest time, and they in turn will come in for their pint – and perhaps a ‘local’ bite to eat. Just like our traditional family farms, so essential to the Irish rural landscape, we must ensure the survival of our traditional pubs. Both must survive in a changing environment. While pubs should stay true to traditional character, they cannot curse the darkness. Forget setting up a dining-room or becoming a ‘gastro-pub’, continue to be what you are: a local social hub. Enriching this with a simple offering of good local food could be the lighting of the candle that ensures it continues to be at the centre of Irish social culture. If you are looking for advice on local sourcing or seeking a chef to help you get started, you can contact Euro-toques. Go to and find opportunity in well sourced local ingredients. u PUB FOOD GUIDE page 21


Beer & Food Are Perfect Partners Move over wine, spurred on by the growth of the craft beer sector, beer is finding favour as the perfect accompaniment to pub food as customers delight in discovering the rich and subtle flavours that beer brings out in all types of cuisine. As food becomes central to the majority of pubs there is a very real opportunity for staff to utilise food to allow for add-on beer sales. Beer is a wonderful companion to many foods and lends itself naturally to pub kitchens. As such good practice is to ensure menus pair all dishes with a choice of bottled or draft beers. Ensure staff understand the need to take the time to point out that beer is the perfect complement to ordered courses – the result will be an increase in sales, especially during evening service. When it comes to matching food and beer there are no hard and fast rules, the general principle is that dark beers go with richer foods while paler ales match lighter foods and fish. It is also true that beer complements many dishes that elude wine, such as curries, chocolate and vinegar and fried foods., a website the celebrates the diversity of beer, points out that ‘beer complements many ingredients and dishes that wine cannot: vinegar, curry and chocolate, for example. Beer is the best accompaniment to Indian, Chinese and Thai foods and is the ideal drink with many European dishes.’ Beer is also perfect for cutting through cheese, and stout is well celebrated as being the perfect accompaniment to oysters and shellfish. A key element in pairing food and beer is to look for contrasting flavours and textures, for instance spicy sausage dishes are perfectly matched with a rich and malty lager. Alternatively beer can complement food, suggests pairing scallops cooked in a black bean sauce with a rich porter ‘or try dark chocolate’s creamy cocoa flavours

with a toasty, malty stout for sweet, rich overall flavour’. Experimentation will yield some surprising – and delicious – results. There are now hundreds of great beers on the Irish market to choose from and suppliers and the rising tide of microbrewers are happy to work with publicans in creating beer and food menus.

Cooking With Beer explains that ‘beer has complex flavour profiles’ – beer can be bitter, sweet, rich, chocolaty, fruity, citrusy – the list goes on and on. As such, because each beer is different, ‘it’s important to taste a beer before you use it in cooking to understand how it will pair with the food you’re cooking.’ The bitterness of beer can add a nice element to a dish, but keep in mind that as beer reduces in the cooking process, this bitterness becomes more pronounced. So it’s important to use a hoppy beer judiciously. The bitterness of some beers can be balanced by the addition of acidity and sweetness – this can come from any number of ingredients. While the carbonation in beer can act as a natural rising agent, it often isn’t sufficient to get a rewarding rise in baked foods. It is still necessary to add baking powder or baking soda, or else your baked foods will be heavy. Beer can be used as a flavourful marinade ingredient, but such a liquidy marinade needs to be shaken off before cooking so it doesn’t prevent browning and caramelizing. If you can imagine a beer going well with a particular dish as a beverage, then it would likely make a good ingredient as well (source: u

Matching Food With Beer Guide Beef vegetable soup

Brown ale or stout

Caesar salad


Beef Carbonnade

Flemish brown ale

Roast leg of lamb

Irish ale

Homemade beef burger

Amber lager





Quiche Lorraine

Wheat ale

Irish cheddar



Wheat ale




Sweet stout

(source: Beer


Looking to learn more about cooking with beer? A good place to start is The Beer Bistro Cookbook by chefs Stephen Beaumont and Brian Morin. Covering everything from getting to know your beers, ales and lagers to combining beers with appetizers, main, cheese, how to create beer cocktails to the perfect beer pastry, here you will find mouth-watering beer recipes for all occasions. Highlights include Blonde Ale Vegetable Pakoras, Grilled Porter Pulled Pork Quesadillas, Curried Butternut Squash and Ale Hummus, Navajo Spice Rubbed Oatmeal Stout Chicken, Beer Butter Tarts, Beeramisu, Stout Macadamia Brownies and even Beerscream.


Profile of a pub with award winning food THE FATTED CALF, GLASSON, CO WESTMEATH Feargal O’Donnell took over the Village Inn in the picturesque village of Glasson in 2010 renaming the premises The Fatted Calf. As a career chef, food was central to his plans for the business, but importantly this continues to be very much a pub. The food, however, is very much the focus here, as such this pub has a large dining area, offers a full lunch and dinner menu, which changes five or six times a year, and a number of extra culinary specials which change weekly. Feargal has also introduced ‘bar snacks’, Irishstyle tapas if you will, which offer customers something small and tasty to enjoy with a drink. These range in price from €3.50-€7.50 and feature such delicacies as local black pudding, air-dried Connemara meats, or crab claws. Recognising the importance of longstanding, regular customers and the more ‘traditional’ pub clientele, The Fatted Calf offers ‘proper dinners’ at lunch time (with a roast of the day for €12.50) while a snug area at one side of the pub, which has its own separate entrance, has been maintained and remains untouched by the food side of the business. ‘The fact that we have gone to great lengths to source our food locally has been a huge part of our success,’ says

(l-r) Feargal and Fiona O’Donnell, owners of The Fatted Calf, accept the Fáilte Ireland Bar Food Award from Sean O’Malley, head of education operations at Fáilte Ireland.

Feargal O’Donnell, ‘as have our efforts to cater for the diversity of our market’, which includes local farmers, passing trade (the village is on the busy route from Athlone towards Cavan/ Longford), families and tourists. From Tuesday to Friday The Fatted Calf offers a three-course supper menu for €25 and almost everything is available as half-portion for children (at half or less of the adult price). ‘Food is a major driver in the success of

running a pub today,’ Feargal says, ‘people are discerning about how they spend their money and what they eat. The style of food you do is not important – but you need to offer quality and the right price.’ Some of Feargal’s favourite producers include: James McGeough in Galway for his air-dried meats, local Pork Butcher Michael Horan, Donald Russell in Longford for beef and Moonshine Dairy near Mullingar. u

(Right): just one of The Fatted Calf ’s popular bar snack combinations. (Left): Feargal with head chef Deirdre Adamson

GETTING THE MosT FROM PUB FOOD: • Start with a good chef who understands local sourcing and has good product knowledge. They can help you get started and may already be familiar with good local suppliers – who aren’t always very easy to find. • Keep it simple – a short menu is an ideal starting point. Good quality ingredients that don’t require much work. For example: a good homemade soup and chowder,

brown bread, smoked salmon, plates of cold meats/charcuterie, terrine/paté, farmhouse cheeses. • The right accompaniments – people who seek out good food will want the right drink to go with it. A short list of good value mid-range wines by the glass is essential to complement your food offering. Think also about offering different beers. People in Ireland are starting to wake-up to the idea

of pairing beer with food and with many small breweries cropping up, these can also be locally sourced. • Tell people – list your suppliers on your menu or mention the specific origin of the food in dish descriptions. Simply saying something is ‘Irish’ means very little, saying what area it comes from is better, but actually mentioning the farmer/producer is best of all.



Become A Healthier Food Operator Bin the unhealthy deep fried foods and focus on offering lighter meals and low-calorie snacks – it’s what the consumer wants after all. Ireland now holds the unfortunate title of second highest obesity rate in Europe, just behind the UK. According to nutritionist Paula Mee, 23% of the Irish nation is now obese, one in two are considered overweight and 25% of Irish children are obese. In real terms this means there are a startling 327,000 obese children in Ireland with a further 11,000 becoming obese every year. Approximately 2,000 deaths are linked to obesity yearly and related diseases are costing the economy €4 billion per annum. As such, consumers are being urged to take greater interest in what they eat and in the food they are presented with in restaurants, hotels and pubs. Unilever Food Solutions’ World Menu Report found that nine out of 10 people are now looking for more information about food when eating out. The top three concerns are (1) where was the food sourced? (2) how was it prepared? (3) what is its nutritional value? All catering operators need to be aware of this demand for food knowledge as it will only grow in the years to come. Eamon O’Reilly, owner of One Pico Restaurant in Dublin and the Wild Boar gastropub in Stepaside, Co Dublin – which was a Finalist in the Licensing World Bar Awards 2011 – has devised a three-course menu that sets out clearly the nutritional content of the food served. Acknowledging

that creating this menu was no easy task, he adds ‘but now that we’ve taken this step we’re looking at putting healthy options on the menu with a list of three starters, three mains and three desserts – all are low in calories, saturates and salt. Even by picking the highest calories option, the three courses amounts to only 535 calories – or less than a quarter of an adult’s recommended daily calorie intake. Another chef who has gone down a similar route is Dylan McGrath with his restaurant, Rustic Stone. He points out that ‘we were trained in the classics, which doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with healthy eating. In college we were trained to make espanol sauce, and from that we got a demiglace which we used for other sauces. We were trained to work with flour, then when gluten intolerance came in we went with cream. Now we’re taking out the cream so I’m going with relishes. Nutrition conflicts with the natural rules of cooking for generations. It’s a brave new world out there. It’s actually very tough.’ Paula Mee, however, says widespread change is not needed – just far more explanations. ‘I don’t think menus need to change, they just need to be explained. Legislation is going to come down the line anyway, so if restaurants don’t move on it they will be told how to put nutritional information on menus.’ u

Nutritionist Paula Mee says publicans need to explain the nutritional value of the food they serve.

Eamon O’Reilly introduces: A Lighter Approach To Lunch Seared Red Mullet, Escabeche, Shaved Fennel Salad, Saffron 150 kcal, 1g saturates, 0.5g salt Beetroot & Goats Cheese Salad, Sakura, Walnuts, Pine Nuts, Cabernet Sauvignon Dressing 225 kcal, 4g saturates, 0.3g salt Crab Salad, Piquillo Pepper, Curry Spice, Light Crème Fraiche, Pink Grapefruit, Crisp Pain d’Epice 120 kcal, 2g saturates, 0.7g salt


Steamed Bream, Paysanne of Vegetables, Baby Spinach, Vermouth Fish Stock Reduction, Razor Clam 175 kcal, 1g saturates, 0.2g salt Braised Short Rib of Beer Terrine, Bourguignonne Garnish, Onion Purée, Shaved Potato (gluten free) 250 kcal, 4g saturates, 0.2g salt Free Range Fermanagh Chicken, Leek & Black Bacon Croquette,

Fricassee of Salsify, Shitake & Spring Onions 300 kcal, 3g saturates, 0.4g salt Natural Yogurt & Vanilla Pannacotta with Bramley Apple & Green Apple Sorbet 135 kcal Winter Berry & Champagne Jelly with Goji Berry & Blackcurrent Granita 100 kcal


Consumers Love Fresh & Local

Consumers are highly aware of the need to eat the recommended amount of daily portions of fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet and publicans must tailor their food menus to suit, writes NIGEL TYNAN.

What’s in season and when? January: cabbage, cauliflower, rhubarb, leeks, parsnips, turnip, shallots, squash February: cabbage, cauliflower, celeriac, chard, chicory, leeks, parsnips, spinach, swede, turnip March: beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower, leeks, mint, parsley, broccoli, radishes, rhubarb April: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, morel mushrooms, wild garlic, radishes, rhubarb, carrots, kale, watercress, spinach May: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, gooseberries, parsley, mint, broad beans, rhubarb, new carrots, asparagus June: carrots, cherries, elder-flowers, lettuce, strawberries, peppers, asparagus, redcurrants, peas, rhubarb, gooseberries, tomatoes, courgettes, broad beans July: carrots, gooseberries, strawberries, spinach, tomatoes, watercress, loganberries, sage, cauliflower, aubergine, fennel, asparagus, cabbage, celery, cherries, lettuce, mangetout, nectarines, new potatoes, oyster mushrooms, peas, peaches, radish, raspberries, rhubarb, tomatoes, French beans August: carrots, gooseberries, lettuce, raspberries, strawberries, cauliflower, aubergines, nectarines, peaches, peppers, courgettes, rhubarb, sweetcorn, basil, peas, pears, apples, French beans, tomatoes September: apples, aubergines, blackberries, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, damsons, elderberries, figs, French beans, grapes, kale, lettuce, melons, mushrooms, nectarines, onions, peppers, parsnips, peas, peaches, pears, potatoes, pumpkin, raspberries, rhubarb, spinach, sweetcorn, tomatoes October: apples, aubergines, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, courgettes, grapes, lettuce, marrow, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, watercress November: cabbage, pumpkin, swede, cauliflower, potatoes, parsnips, pears, leeks, quinces, chestnuts, cranberries, beetroot December: celery, cabbage, red cabbage, cauliflower, celeriac, clementines, pumpkin, beetroot, turnips, parsnips, satsumas, sprouts, pears, pomegranate, swede For more information on fresh fruit and vegetables and for recipes incorporating seasonal produce visit

Various fruit and vegetables come into season at different times of the year and this fact should be highlighted on all pub menus. Recent figures by Bord Bia demonstrate that consumers are buying more fruit and vegetables as part of their weekly shop each week and are increasingly active in looking for locally sourced, seasonal produce on menus when dining out. As a result pub chefs need to know the best times to change their menus in order to benefit from different fruits and vegetables. It is also important to learn that proper seasonal purchasing can result in reduced purchasing costs as seasonal foods are often cheaper than out of season produce as they don’t require importing, are less labour

intensive to produce and are readily available. Food grown naturally in season is also far tastier and often healthier. Consider summer strawberries, for instance, bursting with flavour and vibrancy when in season, purchased during winter they are overpriced and taste, texture and flavour can be disappointing. Local producers and shops, including butchers, fishmongers and greengrocers, are a great source of information when it comes to what fruit and vegetables are currently in their prime. However a good rule of thumb is to purchase fruit and vegetables in their natural state – that means avoiding pre-prepared produce, as whole fruit and vegetables stay fresher and tastier for longer. u

Food Safety Professionals Association The FOOD SAFETY & HACCP PROFESSIONALS

(See our website for your local food safety professional, just a phone call away)

• CERTIFIED HACCP TRAINING • HACCP IMPLEMENTATION • KITCHEN DESIGN • EHO LIASION • COMPLAINT MANAGEMENT • The NEW FOOD SAFETY ASSURANCE AWARD for your premises. All our members are licensed Trainers & certified by The Environmental Health Officers Association and The National Hygiene Partnership.



Chef Guide Kid Sized Portions Can Be A Major AttractioN Parents are in tune with the need to serve children correct portion sizes and healthy food types, so pub kitchens need to wake-up, it’s time to bin the goujons, chips and sausages, and offer good value, well-priced kids menus with proper portion sizes, writes NIGEL TYNAN.

‘Do you have a kids menu?’ It is a frequent question that staff face and all too often the response is along the lines of ‘we have beans, sausages or goujons with chips’. Such a response is unacceptable to the majority of parents, is extremely outdated and sheds a poor light on your premises. Providing a choice of healthy child-sized meals is both essential and wanted by parents and, as pubs continue to emerge as a force within the casual dining sector, the trade must be aware of such culinary trends and demands. A new initiative, being led by the Nutrition & Health Foundation (NHF) and supported by the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI), called Kids Size Me, aims to ensure children have greater access to healthier food options when dining out by making

child portions of all adult meals available as an alternative to ordering from the standard kids menu. Participating outlets will carry the ‘Kids Size Me’ symbol on their menus and over the coming weeks a consumer information initiative is being launched. According to research commissioned by the NHF, entitled ‘Eating Out With Children’, 98% of parents surveyed supported the move and 80% of parents state they have dined out and been delighted to discover child size portions of adult meals were available in addition to the standard children’s menu. However, only 58% of those surveyed became aware of this option when requesting it from staff as the offering was not advertised. Dietitian Dr Muireann Cullen, who is also manager of the Nutrition & Health

Adult vs Child size portionS Sample Dish

Portion sizeAdult vs Child

Calories Adult vs Child

Chicken Jalfrezi

Adult: 348g Child: 174g

Adult: 428 Child: 214

Tray Bake Chicken and Mediterranean Vegetables

Adult: 530g Child: 265g

Adult: 446 Child: 223

Chicken Chow Mein

Adult: 287g Child: 144g

Adult: 336 Child: 168


Foundation, says portion size affects energy intake in children from as young as five years of age. ‘The balance between energy in and energy out is just as important for children as for adults and children simply should not be consuming adult portions at meal times. Given Ireland has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world at 10% of children aged 5-12, it is essential to ensure children have access to healthier food options in the appropriate serving size and that this is actively promoted by restaurants.’ Ms Cullen advises chefs and owners to assist by delivering good value, healthier menu options for children. Despite the economic downturn, half of parents (52%) surveyed take children out to eat once a month while a further 18% (1 in 5) dine out with children every fortnight. The main reasons cited for bringing children out to dinner are as a treat (72%), for a special occasion (71%) and to spend time together as a family (52%). ‘Value for money’ (85%), ‘taste of food’ (85%) and ‘a nicely varied children’s menu’ (72%) are the factors that most influence parents choice of where to eat while the least influential factors are the provision of free toys with children’s meals (8%) and the availability of take home boxes (18%). In terms of portion sizes and most popular food choices, the following trends were identified – 78% of all children chose their meal themselves; 53% of children ate from the adult menu; half portions of meat dishes and pasta dishes were most popular from the adult menu while pasta dishes were most popular from the kids menu. When asked what should feature on a children’s menu, a significant 88% of parents stated child size portions of adult meals, followed by pasta dishes (80%), meat dishes such as roast chicken or shepherd’s pie, while 69% wish to see clearly marked healthy options. Parents stated that 75% of children normally finished their meal. For children that did not finish their meal, serving size was the biggest influencing factor with over half (52%) stating ‘the portion size is too big’. u


Top Selling

Guinness Recipes Guinness has sent us a range of its top selling recipes - perfect for every pub kitchen Top visitor attraction, the Guinness Storehouse, has invested €2 million in creating a dedicated food floor offering visitors the best of Guinness-inspired recipes. Situated on the fifth floor of the Guinness Storehouse, St James’s Gate, the new food experience is named ‘Five’ and encompasses an authentic Irish pub, named Arthur’s Bar, an 18th Centuryinspired Brewers Dining Hall, Gilroy’s restaurant – inspired by the Guinness advertisements by John Gilroy – and an area for live cookery demonstrations. The Storehouse says it is using the best Irish suppliers and menus include Ardsallagh goats cheese, Irish mussels from Carlingford and MD Bakery in Waterford who supply authentic Waterford Blaas. Executive chef at Guinness Storehouse, Justin O’Connor, says, ‘Certainly the most recognisable and popular Guinness dish in the world is Beef and Guinness stew; in fact, since we opened our doors in 2000, we have served over 400,000 portions of Beef and Guinness Stew. ‘We have refined this traditional dish as part of our project using Hereford beef from Nenagh in Co Tipperary. The meat is marinated for 24 hours in Guinness and aromatics and then slow cooked for succulence and taste.’ Five includes an interactive recipesharing bank that allows visitors to take Guinness recipe cards home to try for themselves and also share their own Guinness-inspired recipes with others. Five will play host to a series of open Seasonal Master Classes throughout the year where participants will learn how to cook with Guinness as an ingredient including Guinness marinated chicken salad with summer vegetables, Guinness wild mushroom risotto and Guinness chocolate pots with cream head, and a Christmas special perfecting a Christmas pudding. For recipe sharing and culinary inspiration log onto and the Guinness Storehouse Facebook Page. u

Irish Mussels in Guinness Cream

Ingredients for 6 portions 1kg fresh Irish Mussels in their shells 300ml cream 200ml fish stock 330ml Guinness extra stout (small bottle) 1 bay leaf Knob of butter 1 Tablespoon of chopped fresh dill 1diced onion 1diced carrot 1diced celery Juice of half lemon Method In a saucepan place the butter, onion, carrot and celery and fry for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to colour. Add the Guinness, fish stock, bay leaf and simmer until reduced by half. Add the cream and reduce by half again. Add the Mussels and cook for 2 – 3 minutes until all the shells have opened, then add the dill and lemon juice. Serve with a slice of Guinness bread and butter.

Beef & Guinness Stew with Champ

Ingredients for 4 people 200ml of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout 400g diced stewing beef 1 medium onion – diced 1 large carrot – diced 1 large celery – diced 1 large parsnip – diced 1 litre of thick beef stock Sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary


FOOD FOCUS Topping: Champ potato (creamed mash potato and spring onion) Method Stir fry the beef, add the vegetables and cook till tender, then pour in the Guinness and reduce by half. Add the beef stock and herbs and simmer very slowly for between an hour and an hour and a half. Serve with the champ potato and honey roast carrot and parsnip. This stew is always better made one day in advance.

Guinness Chocolate Mousse Ingredients for 6 portions 10 egg yolks 10 egg whites, whisked 350g dark chocolate 1/4lb butter 100g caster sugar 100ml Guinness draught

Method Melt dark chocolate and butter in a bain-marie, add in the Guinness draught. Beat egg yolks and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the melted chocolate mixture in with egg yolks and slowly fold in the whisked egg whites until everything is smooth. Transfer mousse to serving glasses and chill. Tip: Serve with fresh raspberries or other seasonal berries in a pint glass. u

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Well planned menus are CRUCIAL to success Never underestimate how a well planned and properly presented menu can lead to greater food sales. Menus should be in line with your establishment – if you offer brasserie-type fare then offer a menu that looks the part. Plan your menu for different periods of the day, lunch menus should be easy to navigate and quickly explain what’s served and the price. Remember speed is of the essence during lunch whereas customers prefer a larger menu in the evening that they can take their time over. A good tip is to print menus in-house, this allows quick reprinting if there is any sign of dirt, grease or tears on the menu. Never present a customer with a shoddy menu and ensure staff know of this rule. Use your menu as a marketing tool with all your contact information on it. Give them away freely and encourage customers to give them to their friends. You might even try a ‘take away to tell the folks’ pocket size menu. If in doubt stick to the golden rule of menu creation: short, seasonal and understandable.

Menu Boards

A successful menu board is clearly legible and allows customers to quickly decide that they want to eat in your premises. Poorly written, overcrowded menu boards only confuse and annoy customers – be clear and concise. u

For expertise and excellence when shopping for seafood or dining out, look for the Circle

50254_BIM_Circle_Land.indd 1

04/03/2011 18:03:12




Getting Started in Food Since the start of the downturn, the Food Safety Authority has recorded a 70% increase in enquiries from people looking to set up new food businesses. It has produced the following three-step guide to getting started.

1. Know the Legislation

All food business operators (FBOs) must comply with hygiene of foodstuffs legislation, Regulation 852/2004/EC. This legislation lays down rules for FBOs on the hygiene of foodstuffs, including temperature control, HACCP, equipment, transport, waste, personal hygiene and training. FBOs dealing with foods of animal origin must also comply with Regulation 853/2004/EC which sets out specific hygiene rules for these types of products. FBOs must also comply with legislation on general food law, Regulation 178/2002/ EC, which requires all food businesses to have a traceability system in place. FBOs must be able to identify who they have received food from and who they have supplied it to (except for those businesses supplying the final consumer). FBOs must not place unsafe food on the market. Additional legislation may be required depending on the category of business.

2. Register Business

with the Competent Authority

FBOs must register with a competent authority before commencing trade. In the page 30 PUB FOOD GUIDE

case of pubs and other catering businesses, this means registering with the Health Service Executive (HSE) which inspects businesses serving consumers, and some manufacturing premises. Contact your local HSE office for further information. A list of local offices is available on Businesses involved in animal slaughter and/or processing meat, dairy products, eggs etc, should register with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food. In general, the local authority veterinary inspector inspects establishments involved in animal slaughter and handling and/or processing meat, dairy products, eggs etc. Contact your local authority for more information. Businesses operating in handling and/or processing fish and fishery products and products of aquaculture are typically inspected by the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority. Failure to register your food business is an offence and businesses requiring approval must be approved before commencing trade. It is advisable to contact your competent authority for advice at the earliest stage of your business development. Approval takes into account plans, premises, waste management, processes, HACCP, products and throughput among other things.

3. Obtain a copy of

the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) guides to good practice

These guides provide guidance on complying with the food hygiene legislation and are a good resource for food businesses: • I.S. 340:2007 – Hygiene in the Catering Sector • I.S. 341:2007 – Hygiene in Food Retailing and Wholesaling • I.S. 22000:2005 – Food Safety Management Systems – Requirements for any organisation in the food chain For more information visit u

Where to Learn More:

The Food Safety Authority has produced a Business Start Up Factsheet which is available to download on A Business Start Up Pack and the Self-Catering Pack, which helps businesses implement HACCP, are available to purchase from the FSAI. For more information visit For further advice, call the FSAI’s advice line on 1890 33 66 77. The line operates from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.




All caterers are legally obliged to implement Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, or HACCP as it is more commonly known. Whether you’re updating or newly implementing HACCP here is a straight forward guide to ensure your food operation meets its requirements. At its core HACCP is about proper planning to ensure that, when it comes to the safety of food served, the right safety procedures are in place and, quality control wise, nothing goes wrong. In basic terms, HACCP is about proper control over all ingredients delivered and what is done with them afterwards. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) states that all food operations need to implement HACCP and that the process works best when it is tailored to individual premises taking into account the complexity of that particular catering operation. The ability to tailor HACCP to suit unique catering requirements, whether you’re a pub, sandwich bar or Michelin starred restaurant, is listed as one of the key strengths of HACCP. Since 1998 publicans have had a legal obligation to understand the principles of HACCP and apply them to their food business. Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) regularly assess catering operations for compliance and it is the responsibility of the caterer – not the EHO – to develop and implement a food safety management system based on HACCP. The responsibility for training and supervision of employees – full-time, part-time or casual – lies solely with the proprietor of a catering business. Benefits of HACCP: • Saves money in the long run • Avoids poisoning of customers • Food safety standards increase • Compliance with the law • Service of safe food • Promotes teamwork and efficiency • Due diligence defence in court

Enforcement Orders

Environmental health officers inspecting food operations have the power to serve Closure, Improvement and Prohibition Orders on businesses. Under the FSAI Act, 1998, a Closure Order is served where it is deemed that there is or there is likely to be a grave and immediate danger to public health at or in the premises; or where an

THE PROCESS OF HACCP Step One: Analysis Management must review each step of the food process, from supply to end customer needs to be examined, including delivery, storage, preparation, processing (mixing, cooking, cooling etc), packing and labeling. Potential hazards can arise at any stage in the preparation, processing and selling of food. Common hazards are: • Microbial – pathogenic or spoilage bacteria, moulds, viruses • Chemical – pesticides, antibiotic, cleaning chemicals, metals, migration of chemicals from packaging • Physical – foreign bodies including dirt, hair, fingernails, plasters, buttons. Suggested hazards must be recorded (however unlikely) for analysis and sorting. It is important to collect as much information as possible about products and processes, including time and temperatures of cooking, cooling and storage, packaging, instructions for use. A flow chart will help to visualise the sequence of events the process takes and then each point can be looked at in turn.

Step Two: Critical Control Points (CCPs) A Critical Control Point (CCP) is a particular step or point in your food process where you suspect the possibility that food can become contaminated (and consequently pose a health threat) and where this potential danger can be prevented, controlled, or eliminated. Typically CCP limits are expressed in terms of parameters such as temperature and time, including food that has not been cooked or chilled properly. Monitoring CCPs involves measuring parameters, such as temperature and time. How you monitor and how often will depend on the size and nature of your catering business. Monitoring should in all cases be simple, clear and easy to do. Examples include probing cooked meat to ensure correct temperature and cooking process and only refrigerating cooked food that is fully cooled. When monitoring of a CCP indicates that the critical limits have not been complied with or adhered to, the catering business must have a procedure on what action should be

taken to bring the CCP back within critical limits (corrective action). Each corrective action should be documented and explain the requirements for corrective action. Corrective procedures should include: • What to do with the food • What to do to bring the process back under control • Which member of staff has responsibility for carrying out the corrective action.

Step Three: Reviewing Results The process of reviewing and updating of HACCP should be an ongoing and routine element of all food operations. This allows the verifcation that HACCP is working as intended and, on a regular basis, a manager should confirm that monitoring of CCPs is taking place and that control is being correctly maintained. The FSAI advises caterers that hazard analysis, identification of CCPs and control procedures be reviewed on an annual basis at the very least and again whenever a change occurs in the food business operation, such as the delivery of new equipment or new suppliers, which may affect food safety.


LEGAL BITES Improvement Order is not complied with. Closure Orders can refer to the immediate closure of all or part of the food premises, or all or some of its activities. An Improvement Order may be issued by the District Court if an Improvement Notice is not complied with within a defined period. Further non-compliance can result in a Closure Order also being served. An Improvement Notice is served when it is deemed that any activity involving the handling, preparation etc of food or the condition of a premises (or part thereof ) is of such a nature that if it persists it will or is likely to pose a risk to public health. A Prohibition Order is issued if the activities (handling, processing, disposal, manufacturing, storage, distribution or selling food) involve or are likely to involve a serious risk to public health from a particular product, class, batch or item of food. The effect is to prohibit the sale of the product, either temporarily or permanently. Details of the food businesses served with these enforcement orders are published on the FSAI’s website, Closure Orders and Improvement Orders will remain listed on the website for a period of three months from the date of when a premises is adjudged to have corrected its food safety issue. Prohibition Orders are listed for a period of one month. u

Food Safety Advice & Training Expert

Mary Daly & Associates specialises in nationwide food safety training and in assisting pubs, hotels and restaurants with HACCP implementation and preparation for critical audits conducted by the HSE, HIQA, FSPA. Mary Daly is a FÁS Approved Trainer; FETAC Educational Provider; Licensed Food Safety Trainer on behalf of the NHP and EHOA, is a founding member of the Food Safety Professionals Association and is the preferred Food Safety Professional to Good Food Ireland, The Association of Craft Butchers of Ireland, the National Organic Trust, and Fáilte Ireland. Courses available to pub food operators include: Food Safety Training: Subjects covered are Personal Hygiene, Food Temperature Control, Record Keeping, Waste Management, Food Traceability and Legal Responsibilities of all staff. Primary Course in Food Hygiene: Designed and certified by the Environmental Health Officers Association, this day-long course covers 10 modules on Food Safety. Management of Food Hygiene in the Hospitality Industry: This fourday HACCP course is certified by the National Hygiene Partnership and is among the most advanced food safety course available in Ireland. A refresher HACCP Course is also available. For more information visit




Food Labelling Is The Law Under Consumer Protection Law, consumers have the right to know what price is being charged in any outlet that serves food via a comprehensive price list of all food dishes for sale. This list should be readily available either outside or immediately inside the food service area. The Retail Prices (Food in Catering Establishments) Display Order, 1984, applies to all pubs, hotels, restaurants and cafés that offer food for sale and consumption on the premises. Food menus must display prices and if individual menus are not handed out prices must be displayed clearly in the room for all to see, such as on a blackboard. The price list must indicate if there is: • A minimum charge • A service charge – and whether this is included in the price of the food • A cover charge or any similar charge. If you charge different prices at different times or on different days, the price display should specify these different prices and what

items they relate to. Any extra charges that apply – such as service charges, cover charges, entertainment charges – must be clearly stated on the display notice. The amount of the charge must be specified and what the charge relates to must be explained. If the service charge is included in the price of the food being sold that fact must also be highlighted. You are obliged, whenever you display your prices or charges, to give the final price inclusive of taxes and charges.

Beef Origins

Legislation states that publicans must provide consumers with information on the country of origin of all beef being served in their premises. Consumers must be provided with easy access to information – that is clearly legible – on where the animal was born, reared and slaughtered. u

The fine if convicted for not properly displaying your food prices is €1,750.



Practise Knife Safety Good knife safety practices should be part of every kitchen and large knives should never be used where a smaller knife is safer. It is good practice for kitchen staff to wear a cut-proof glove on their non-knife hand, especially when training or doing intricate or difficult jobs, such as boning. Implement a strict policy that states staff should never use a knife unless they have to and consider the benefits of using precut foods. Order supplies in easy-open containers and ensure the use of scissors or retractable blades for opening bags/boxes. A knife is never to be used to taste food. u u Cut away from you: Always cut away and never cut towards yourself, a proper cutting board should be used – never cut in the hand – and ensure the item being cut is secure and cannot roll or topple. Do not use a large sharp knife unnecessarily and knives should always be stored safely when not needed. u Store knives securely: Proper knife storage and labelling is essential, knives should never be left lying around on work benches or soaking in sink areas. Provide a designated area for dirty knives and inform all staff that knives should always be washed in dishwashers with the point facing downwards.

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