Peach Food Philosophy
1. WE ALWAYS SERVE THE GOOD STUFF
Free-range chicken, eggs, pork (sausages & bacon too), ice cream. Sustainable fish (native if possible – like lobster). Air-freighting only where no alternative. British fruit & veg in season and made a fuss of – e.g. asparagus, strawberries, wild mushrooms. British beef, lamb, pork, game. Reared, grown or caught by great farmers & fishermen. It’s fine to support local suppliers, but only if they honestly meet our standards – and never to replace our main suppliers, chosen for their proven quality.
2. AN HONEST PLATE OF FOOD
A plate of Peach food should please the eye. The quality of the ingredients should be evident, as well as the skill, care & pride of the chef. Most of all, it should make you want to dig in. At least several dishes on every menu should have the “Wow! Factor” that guests will want to come back for. Every main course must work without adding extras (no lonely steak on a plate) but some can tempt the guest to add a side that suits it well, especially dishes under £16 – fishcake, slow & low, customisable salads. More expensive dishes should need nothing adding – but a complete plate of food does not have to mean meat, potatoes & two veg. The protein does not always have to be the star, and a grain-rich salad, a pilau, braised lentils, a well-made couscous or an interesting slaw can be a strong part of the dish. Low-carb and healthier dishes are the modern way of eating.
Puddings should never be an after-thought – they create sociable sharing moments, talking points and delight our sweet-toothed guests.For a dessert lover, it will be the last thing they eat before leaving one of the pubs and so it must be memorable.The menu should always feature a knock-out chocolate dish, something fruity and lighter, something hot and irresistible and a ‘wow’ showstopper.Above all, puddings should be fun and they deserve as much time as the rest of the menu.
3. FLEXIBLE CHOICES
We respect our guests’ choice to eat vegetarian, vegan, gluten- or dairy-free. These options are not after-thoughts or panic measures. They are a big part of the future. These dishes must deliver as much of a celebration or escape as anything on our menus – no veggie pasta a student could knock up at home. And they need to be made with the same care and consistency as any premium duck dish. We are all flexitarians now.
4. BALANCE THE MENU
Remember we serve young and old, men and women, health-conscious and out for a slap-up treat, trendy and traditional, pushing the boat out and on a shoe-string. The menu needs to cover a range of prices and types of dishes to suit as many guests as possible, whatever their mood today. When planning a menu, don’t just think about filling the slots with seasonal ingredients. Think about what all the different types of people you see in your pub will want to eat this season. The same with specials – fit the offer to the day of the week and the guests out front.
5. DON’T MESS WITH THE CLASSICS
The classics are classics for a reason - because they work, and people love them. Better to make the perfect crème brûlée than add a flavour the world’s best chefs never thought of. Only ever bring an “improved” classic if you’ve tested it on twenty people and they’ve all told you it’s better. Not different. Better.
6. NO CUBES, NO SMEARS, NO FOAMS, NO TOWERS
We are busy gastropubs, serving a lot of dishes at pace. And we’re not out to impress Michelin’s inspectors. We’re out to impress our guests with the best pub food in town. That means three or four good things on a plate. Keep it simple and do it well. Focus on flavour and the great quality ingredients we have committed to buying. Presentation is important – we all eat with our eyes – but keep it real.
7. LIVING THE VALUES
These rules have evolved in response to our guests’ tastes and needs over 15 years. When our food meets the rules and is delivered with great service our guests love our pubs. But we are only as good as the last plate that came off the pass. We do our absolute best to ensure you have access to the best ingredients, creative freedom and input into the menu. In return, we need you to give the same care to every dish, whether you devised it or not. The guests don’t know if it’s yours or a Peach standard – they only know if it’s delicious or not. And they will judge their whole experience accordingly. If anything in the Food Rules is unclear or difficult for anyone in your kitchen to follow, please sit down with your Poddy (urgently) and talk it over.
PEACH FOOD HEROES – Rowley Leigh, Mark Hix & Simon Hopkinson (for bringing great brasserie cooking to Britain – the original honest plates of food), Peter Gordon (for salads & veg), Yotam Ottolenghi (for great flavour modern vegetarian & superfoods), Gary Rhodes (for classic recipes that work), Raymond Blanc (for his genius & passion for food), Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (for campaigning about important food stuff), Tom Kerridge (the new patron saint of healthy eating), and the guys from Mildred’s, for helping us fall in love with veggie & vegan food.