Inside story on pub kitchens provides food for thought

Mike and Jacqui Down

Mike and Jacqui Down at the Volunteer Inn - Credit: Andrew Butler

On September 20 The Chefs’ Forum is presenting a seminar for all pub kitchens – and Ottery St Mary's Volley landlord Mike Down is making his small screen debut! 

The two-hour event focuses on how new technology is enabling pubs like the Volunteer Inn to do more with less as well as covering topics such as Natasha’s Law, healthier menus, waste reduction and future staffing issues. 

Mike features in one of the specially-made films in which leading pub groups and individuals explain how harnessing new technology has improved efficiency and workflow in their kitchens through the use of connected cooking and iKitchens. 

Earlier this year, a Rational iKitchen was installed at the Volunteer and Mike will be talking about how the new system has revolutionized the pub’s kitchen.  

He said: “The cooking is shared between my wife Jacqui and our Head Chef Gemma. We had a full iKitchen installed and although a significant investment, it was one that we knew it was important to make.  

“It’s had a huge impact on our food trade, which has doubled. And we can now create our menu with only one chef in the kitchen at any one time, pretty critical when recruiting into hospitality has become such a challenge.  

Chef Gemma says that the new kitchen has made a huge improvement to health and safety issues by removing the need for heavy lifting and being close to hot liquids. 

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“We have a relatively small kitchen, and we were able to improve every aspect with the iKitchen technology. It gives us time to be more creative with our cooking.”  

Others involved in the seminar include Tim Foster, co-founder of the Yummy Pub Co who is discussing what he calls “the polar extremes” of the pub trade and Ross Pike, Chef Director of Oakman Inns which has connected the Rational ovens across all its sites. 

 The free-to-attend seminar is open to pub chefs, owner operators, managers, kitchen planners and designers and will be particularly useful for future planning and for addressing the challenges and opportunities currently facing sector as it recovers from being shut-down during the pandemic. 

To register, contact  

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