Case Study – The Montague Inn

Embracing innovation in herbs

Award-winning chef, John McGeever, is a great believer in simple, tasty food, without the pretence. And he’s been producing exactly that for the customers that visit the Montague Inn, Somerset, for the last five years.

“One of our main objectives at the Montague Inn is to offer value for money. People are more discerning when they eat out these days and we are very proactive in trying to offer that little bit extra. For example, we absolutely refuse to discount, it’s a false economy. We prefer to give our customers something to enhance their experience with us such as complimentary olives or homemade bread".

“We are very much a destination pub; our customers have to make an effort to come here as we are located in the middle of nowhere so we rely purely on word of mouth and our reputation. For that reason, I concentrate a lot of my efforts on sourcing great ingredients and use mostly local producers wherever possible".“However, there are exceptions. For instance, I buy fresh herbs because in some instances, only fresh will do, but there is a place in every kitchen for dried herbs as well as fresh and I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Schwartz for Chef freeze-dried premium range. They have a strong, clean flavour that is more evident than in many fresh herbs and because of the intensity of taste, you actually use less. Visually, they have a vibrant colour, are evenly cut and are perfect when used in compound butters and in coatings, such as in Béarnaise butter served with seared sirloin steak or on herb crusted chicken."

“I’d suggest that chefs have an open mind when trying new things and embrace innovation. Using the Schwartz for Chef freeze-dried premium range was a revelation for me, they were so good! Back in the 1970’s, when I trained, all dried herbs were grey, and they looked and tasted the same – but not anymore!”