Ottery landlord Mike plays starring role in new pub kitchen seminar

An Ottery St Mary landlord is playing a starring role in a seminar for all pub kitchens this week. 

Mike Down, who runs the Volunteer Inn, is making his small screen debut as part of The Chefs’ Forum event on Monday, September 20.

The two-hour event focuses on how new technology is enabling pubs like Mike’s, in Broad Street, to do more with less.

It will also cover 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 Inn and Mike will be talking about
how the new system has revolutionised 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.”

Head Chef Gemma Youlden at the Volunteer Inn in Ottery St Mary. Image: Sue Cade

Head Chef Gemma Youlden at the Volunteer Inn in Ottery St Mary. Image: Sue Cade

Chef Gemma Youlden 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.

She added: “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.”

The free-to-attend seminar is open to pub chefs, owner operators, managers, kitchen planners
and designers.

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