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Case Study – The Jolly Farmer, Bramley

Steve Hardstone’s family has owned and operated the Jolly Farmer pub in Bramley, Surrey, for the past 42 years, maintaining its presence in the village as a ‘proper’ pub where customers can stand at the bar and drink a pint.  But that doesn’t stop creativity in the kitchen.  Head Chef, John Todd, is given pretty much a free rein when it comes to the menu. 

Steve Hardstone, Landlord; “Pubs today need to be realistic about what they are.  Here at the Jolly Farmer we are a good old fashioned pub where our customers can come and enjoy a real beer, but we also serve jolly good food.  We have a specials board where John and his team have the freedom to be creative, but we know that the most popular dishes on our menu are the traditional ones; fish and chips, burgers and our Sunday roasts. 

“All of our food is homemade and we concentrate on the main event to make it as good as it can be.  For instance, why would we spend an hour in the kitchen making apple sauce to go with roast pork?  The cost is so small compared to the total cost of the meal, why risk ruining the whole joint?  Having said that, it matters that every element of the meal is of a high standard so I would always buy a good quality brand such as Schwartz Bramley Apple Sauce because I know it will deliver consistently on flavour and match the quality of our recipes.  It makes me laugh when you hear of chefs buying an own label product in place of a branded product because it’s cheaper.  The difference in portion cost between a cheaper version and a brand you can trust is so negligible, it just isn’t worth it! 

Our recipes: BBQ Spare RibsFillet StroganoffMediterranean ChickenWild Mushroom Medley on Ciabatta Toast

“Our food objectives are to provide that food to the highest standard possible, in a traditional and friendly environment, for the 400+ customers we serve every week and with rising costs we have to be realistic about where we can save money because we don’t want it to impact upon quality.  By going to Smithfield, we cut out the middle-man, and I get to choose the best cuts for the best price on the day, and that’s how we can still afford to put Angus Beef on our menus.  Our motto is if we can’t make it better for less, we buy it in.  That said, we make all our own ice cream, ham, chutney, chips and even our sausages are made to a 25 year old recipe.  But there are certain branded products like table sauces and seasoning blends, we know will offer more if we buy them. 

“We’ve used Schwartz products for as long as I can remember, across a range of dishes.  Their seasonings offer more convenience, give the chefs more time in the kitchen and deliver excellent flavours.  Compared to own label versions, Schwartz spices are vibrant and flavoursome; it doesn’t matter how much of a cheap product you use, it will never be good.  And I’ve recently discovered Schwartz freeze dried herbs - we use a lot of tarragon in our popular Wild Mushroom Medley and fresh herbs can be very wasteful as they only stay fresh for a very short while.  The freeze dried tarragon came back brilliantly in the recipe, there was no difference in taste compared to fresh and one tub will last much longer than dozens of fresh bunches.”