With the difficulties the pub and catering trade has been facing in the last year or so, alongside the growing interest in food sourcing, and keeping things local, the Polgooth Inn near St Austell is getting back to basics to make sure their customers know exactly what they are getting on their plate.
As well as making their own meaty burgers and marinating olives on site, they are now curing their own ham, and making their own sausages, with plans in the pipeline to make hogs pudding and cure bacon in-house too.
Existing staff members have been learning a thing or two from a relative newcomer. Chef, Neil Clemes, has been at the Polgooth for nearly a year now, and though quite new to cooking, he has spent many years working in the meat industry. At the age of 15 he started with General Butchers where he cut his teeth learning the butchery trade. He then worked at Myners in St Austell, gaining more butchery experience, and making hogs puddings. From there, Neil moved to Roach Foods where he worked his way up, from production manager where he was responsible for cooked meats, through to Factory Manager to New Product Development Manager.
With such knowledge of the production side of the trade, he came to the Polgooth Inn keen to develop his catering skills in a new direction.
Landlady, Jo Blaylock says, “Neil is now a fully-fledged member of the kitchen staff and has taken to cooking no problem! His enthusiasm for good produce is refreshing, and the industry knowledge that he has brought with him has been a real asset and a great learning experience for us all.”
Neil says, “Customers want to know about the food they are eating. By curing the ham on site, we can tell them where the meat has come from, and exactly what has been added during the curing process. We work to a real traditional recipe using ingredients including freshly pressed apple juice, cider, cloves, bay leaves and juniper berries, and the end product is ‘ansome!”
Now, with a sausage-making machine on site, and fellow chefs, Jamie, Jere and Charlee learning the skill, it is only a matter of time until everyone gets hands-on in the production side of catering too.”
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