Our regular monthly Menu Matters feature is back for July, with the team at food supplier Oliver Kay taking a look at how hospitality businesses can maximise the opportunity presented by British Food Fortnight.
From Lancashire hotpot to Welsh rarebit, and Cornish pasties to Scotch eggs, Britain has no shortage of regional speciality dishes and high quality local and seasonal products. British Food Fortnight is back with a bang for 2021, running this year from 18 Sept to 3 Oct.
British Food Fortnight is the flagship event of the Love British Food campaign, whose director Alexia Robinson, says “After such a diabolical year for hospitality, we’re planning the biggest national celebration so far.“
“Demand for British produce is through the roof after the difficulties during the pandemic. People are keen to support local farmers and producers and are actively looking for establishments that support British on their menus. Commercially it makes sense to capitalise upon the tremendous new appetite there is for eating local produce.”
For most pubs, getting involved is as easy as checking your menu and promoting the great British classic dishes that you already offer. Post-lockdown, interest in nostalgic, familiar food and drink is running at high levels as consumers think about careful consumption in terms of what they eat, and look to stay local, and the appeal of familiar dishes after a long period of isolation and uncertainty is strong.
Favourites such as fish and chips, Sunday roast, bangers and mash, or a steak and ale pie, especially when accompanied by a pint of cask ale, are high on the list of dishes that customers expect to find on a pub menu. Your supplier should be able to give you the information you need to promote the British products on the menu, whether it’s the port where the fish was landed or the farm where the veg was grown.
With a core menu in place, why not also offer some specials featuring British produce? Mackerel is a wonderful, tasty fish, and often in good supply and great value. Try this recipe featuring grilled mackerel with candied beetroot, watercress and new season Cox’s apple salad, and an apple cider dressing: https://www.directseafoods.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Mackerel-recipe-from-Direct-Seafoods.pdf
Beef is a British classic, and while it’s the mainstay of a classic roast dinner, it’s worth featuring a few more exotic recipes as midweek specials to tempt customers. Campbell Brothers Baby Back Ribs, Soy Chili Glaze & Charred Sweetcorn has a strong appeal to those that like a spicy kick to their main meal:
Pheasant comes into season at the start of October, so why not finish off the fortnight with a game special such as this tasty Roasted Pheasant Breast, Confit Leg, Creamed Sprouts And Chestnuts, Pheasant And Port Jus With Blackberries: www.oliverkayproduce.co.uk/food-info/seasonal-recipes-ideas/120-sprouts/321-pheasent-sprouts
For a side dish spotlighting high quality produce, Kale and Heritage Carrot Slaw makes a great accompaniment served with a freshly-made burger, or fish and chips: www.oliverkayproduce.co.uk/food-info/seasonal-recipes-ideas/302-kale-and-heritage-carrot-slaw
To make sure customers know what your plans for British Food Fortnight are:
• Use your website and social media to promote your menu.
• Spotlight your British food specialties on posters and online promotions.
• Pair regional foods with appropriate beers, ciders and wines.
• Hold a special event, such as seafood night featuring the range of species caught in British waters, or a food-themed pub quiz.
The website at www.lovebritishfood.co.uk has resources including menu templates and recipe ideas for pubs to plan British Food Fortnight activity. For the very best of British products, contact the specialist suppliers at:
Meat and game: www.campbellbrothers.co.uk
Fish and seafood: www.directseafoods.co.uk
Fresh produce: www.oliverkayproduce.co.uk
Steve Alton, CEO of the British Institute of Innkeeping commented “Today’s announcement by the Chancellor does not address the vulnerability of our members’ pubs in every community. The energy price guarantee, whilst welcome, will see most pubs at least doubling their energy costs from last year in addition to the inflationary pressures on their costs of doing business.
“We are hopeful that a number of his measures will support consumer confidence and maintain demand at this now critical period of trading. His recognition of too many barriers to enterprise must now also translate into radically reduced regulation allowing our members to trade fully and freely alongside delivering a significant reduction in the ongoing disproportionately high business rates that our members pay.
“We will continue to engage and make the case to Government for our members as they conduct their review into vulnerable sectors with the Prime Minister having previously referenced our local pubs. Simply without further support many pubs will fail.”