Unilever Food Solutions ran a competition for chefs to win a business development session with Chris Barber, a food and business development expert and former chef to HRH Prince of Wales. The Old Thatch in Killeagh, Cork, was one of the winners.
DECLAN NOONAN took over at the Old Thatch four years ago and spends much of his time in the kitchen serving a range of a la carte dishes at lunch and dinner, which fuse traditional and world cuisine influences. From curries and Irish steaks to Cajun chicken and Ballycotton seafood, the pub attracts three quarters of its business from passing trade, and the remainder from the local area.
Noonan takes personal responsibility for ensuring waste from the pub is minimised. He uses the specials board to push ingredients that need to be used up before they go out of date and he uses several products across a number of dishes to ensure little stock is left over. What is left the end of the day is given to a charity to feed dogs. Not only does this help to build relationships with the local community, but it also reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill. In addition to this, off-cuts of meat from Declans regular roast dinner meals are used to enhance the flavour of stews and sauces, and leftover mashed potato is used to make potato croquettes.
After sitting down with Declan to brainstorm ways in which he can improve his business, we discussed the benefits of planning recipes to ensure consistency of cooking techniques and flavour and stabilise costing, explained Barber. This includes taking a careful look at what food is coming back from certain meals.
Portion control is a big trap that many chefs fall into. Why not make them smaller but also inform your customers that theyre welcome to have more? This is a far better approach than simply wasting the food and could help chefs increase their gross profit up to five per cent, without increasing turnover.
- Further advice, tips and supporting tools to help chefs make a positive difference to the way they work are available in Unilever Food Solutions free downloadable Wise up on Waste toolkit