With the pub industry facing a kitchen recruitment crisis, Star Pubs & Bars has successfully trialled and funded what it believes to be a first for the pub industry, a five day intensive practical cookery skills course. Aimed at licensees and members of their management teams, the course is designed to improve their cookery and kitchen management skills, upgrade their food offers and drive food sales.
Following positive feedback from the course, Star Pubs & Bars is planning to run more practical food skills courses for licensees and their teams in 2016. This will add to the 100 plus days chef skills training provided in pubs by independent chef trainers.
Chris Jowsey, Star Pub & Bars trading director said: “The reality is not all licensees have lots of cookery experience. It is important to support them because as an industry we are faced with a chef recruitment crisis which is limiting the true food potential of pubs. It is our belief that to build sustainable pub food businesses licensees need to improve the quality and quantity of food in their pubs. And with Star’s ambition that 50% of pub sales should come from food, we felt it was important to act now and help licensees and their teams acquire the kitchen skills they need.
“Food trends show that consumers are looking for top quality home cooked food. To increase food profitability and raise the quality of food in pubs licensees need to create more home cooked dishes from scratch rather than try to compete at the value end of the food chain.”
Four times over subscribed
14 delegates from a range of pubs attended the residential course, which was four times over sub-scribed. Run by independent chef trainers, each with over 20 years experience, the course consisted of five hours a day of practical training in culinary basics and cooking techniques as well as the creation of more complex dishes.
The course focused on:
- Kitchen hygiene and knife-craft skills
- Herbs, spices, stocks, soups, sauces, vegetables and fruit, potatoes, rice, pasta and pulses
- Masterclasses in meat and poultry, roasts, steak and burgers
- Fish and shellfish
- And a chef’s challenge tocreate their own dishes based on what they’ve learnt on the course.
In the evenings delegates learnt about wine, beer and food pairing and visited a top London gastro pub looking at it from a customer perspective.
Star Pubs & Bars has also created a comprehensive Foundation Cookery Skills folder outlining cookery theory and recipes appropriate for commercial kitchens to help delegates cascade their knowledge within their pubs and further develop the kitchen skills they need.