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Menu Matters

Your monthly pub catering inspiration from Laurence Tottingham, development chef at Oliver Kay Produce.

Inspiration for pub caterers from Laurence Tottingham, development chef at Oliver Kay Produce, whose CV includes Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck and Hind’s Head pub. Laurence is a finalist in the Craft Guild of Chef Awards 2019.


Summer seasonal produce ideas:

The summer is a sensational season for produce, bringing a fantastic array of colour and flavour to menus.

Among delicious fish to make the most of while still in season in June, is wild, fresh bream which can be baked or pan-fried, served simply with lemon and parsley, or in Mediterranean inspired dishes.

Oher fish ideal for summer menus include MSC certified Canadian lobster and fresh, MSC certified plaice and turbot.

Turbot is a really versatile, meaty fish that lends itself to a variety of cooking methods including pan-frying, grilling or barbecuing. Let the produce sing by cooking simply with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and parsley. Barbecued turbot is delicious with eryngii king oyster mushrooms in a garlic buttery sauce, or serve in a white wine sauce with British courgette ribbons.

This delicious recipe of turbot, parsley, red cabbage and crispy capers is ideal for June specials boards.

Get the recipe here 

Now is also the ideal time to be embracing Spanish nectarines and peaches on the menu. Go retro and reinvent the classic peach melba with your own twist. Use them in tarts, or grill and roast them for puddings. Serve marinated with tamarind or cover in caramel and top with pistachios and serve with a mascarpone mix.


Create a stunning main course salad with griddled peaches, halloumi and green beans and finish with nuts including pine nuts or hazelnuts.


British courgettes are at their best from June to October and are a gift for summer menus. Use instead of aubergine in a parmigiana, for layers in a vegetable moussaka or in a courgette frittata as a great summer lunch dish. An Amalfi coast inspired courgette pasta with softened courgettes, onions, parmesan and tagliatelle is also an excellent way to hero this vegetable.



Event opportunity:

National Burger Day – Thursday, 22 August 2019

Burgers are a pub menu must and this dedicated day is an ideal time to excite your customers with innovative burger specials or launch new burgers on your menu.

Goat meat, which makes a great alternative to lamb and is favoured by those looking for sustainable meat, is increasingly being embraced on restaurant and street food operator menus, so for something different feature a goat burger.

Simply take minced goat and make it into a patty, or slow braise a shoulder or leg, pick down the meat and turn into a patty. Henson Meats in London, is among goat meat suppliers.

Serve the burger with a Caribbean inspired banana ketchup, which is like a sweet brown sauce and a bit spicy. 

Recipe ideas include a kimchi bubble & squeak burger with pickled carrot, mooli and cucumber slaw.

Get the recipe here


Also ensure you feature an interesting vegan burger option.


Or go for an Americana inspired Southern fried seitan burger with caramelised onion crisps, ranch cucumber and carrot slaw and crispy caramelised onion.

Get the recipe here


For a flavour-packed ready-made vegan burger option the ‘Moving Mountains burger’, available from Oliver Kay, or Henson Meats in London, is a menu winner with the burger even delivering a juicy ‘bleed’ at the centre.

Serving ideas include adding a vegan bacon jam, vegan smoked gouda, and a carrot, pak choi and rosemary slaw.



Be resourceful

ChalkStream farmed trout from Hampshire is a great alternative to salmon, which in the past year has seen rising prices as well as sustainability issues.

Liberation Group pubs have replaced salmon on their menus with this rainbow trout and report that customers love it. Trout is so versatile to use; it smokes and cures really well, you can BBQ, grill, poach or roll it up. It also works really well with Hampshire watercress including purees and oils as well as with leaves.

Among specials board ideas are Chalk Stream Trout, Wakame seaweed salad, ponzu and Chinese cabbage.

Get the recipe here



On-trend concept: Seaganism

Following a seagan diet, which combines a vegan diet with eating sustainable seafood a couple of times a week, is a growing food trend with an increasing number of people attracted to the nutritional and health benefits this diet can deliver.

Earlier this year the UK’s leading authority on seafood, Seafish, launched a new consumer campaign putting the spotlight on seaganism.

Pub caterers don’t need to label dishes seagan on their menus, but having the trend in mind when it comes to planning summer dishes is a good approach. Be really creative and think beyond the typical piece of protein and two veg on a plate.

Sustainable fish, ideal for summer seagan dishes includes MSC certified hake, mackerel and scallops. 


Menu ideas include poached cod, haricot bean and summer broth.

Get the recipe here



Oliver Kay Produce is part of the Bidfresh group. For more information go to