Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Peppermint Bay update

Let me say upfront that I have yet to eat at PB under the new regimen of Paul Foreman.

So when I report here that there has been quite a lot of disquiet, and many rumblings, round the traps, about PB's new food/menu/pricings, you'll understand this is definitely not my opinion or point of view.

The general opinion seems to be that the portions are too small and too expensive, even though people seem to agree that the actual food itself tastes good.

Judging by comments on this blog recently, plus the feedback from many, there are a few local issues involved there as well.

As usual, it would appear that it comes back to each individual's expectations and desires. Paul naturally would have a list of things he would like to achieve as Exec Chef at PB. Management also would have their own list of priorities. Customers have their expectations too, as do staff at PB. Are we all wanting the same things?

Let's hope it all doesn't end in tears!
Posted on by Rita
65 comments

65 comments:

sir grumpy said...

Do EXECUTIVE CHEFS actually cook? Gordon Ramsay has shot down loads of them over the years in his programs and it gives the breed a taint.
Do they just set up a menu and let the underlings produce?
Don't think I'm having a go, I'm just curious. It would be sad to see the talents of someone so revered hijacked by a different role.
Hands-on cooking by the greats, that's what we need. Ramsay has forgotten this and that is why he's having a hiccup or three.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the executive chef (when that title is used) is responsible for menu design and costing. It also encompasses the hire of staff to help execute the efficient running of a kitchen. It is regarded generally as a management role, whereby the chef in question would normally draw a salary plus a net share of the profits (typically 15-20%) over and above an agreed turnover. It is therefor in their interests to perform well.
However, this does not mean in any way that they are no longer hands on in the kitchen, many feel that in order to achieve success they must maintain a training and pro-active role in the kitchen.

The term executive chef is often mis-used by people simply so as they can sound more superior. Not suggesting this is the case here.

It is more appropriate a term used in a hotel where there are several kitchens or themed restaurants under the overall guidance of an executive, managing a chef de cuissine, head chefs, sous, sauciers, commis etc, and in turn being answerable to a board of directors or owners who have issued a remit.

Hope that helps.

Hazel said...

hi Rita - sorry I didn't mean to open up a can of worms with my comment before.... we have been going to PB for over 4 years now and have watched the changes of menu, waiting staff and chefs.
It still has one of the best views for a pub that I know, they let us sit on the outside tables with our dog (who loves all the attention she receives!), the Friday evenings are always fun with regulars, visitors, families and dogs.
I had heard very positive reports about the menu until we overheard the other customer. I guess as you point out it's hard to please everyone!

Patty said...

Check out the menu here. Not clear if there are different menus for "counter meals" versus the posh dining room.
Haven't been there since the new regime but will do so shortly.

Barking said...

An alsation named Nigella should keep the chefs on their toes when you eat out Hazel!

Hazel said...

LOL-Nigella is a big teddy really; you can't be scared of her. She does have good taste though - and no, she doesn't bite.

sir grumpy said...

Thanks anon on that esecutive chef question. Others tell me too that the term is often offered by establishments and used by appointees to make the actual position sound grander than it is.
Like you, I am not suggesting that is the case here. I was just concerned over the potential loss of great skills.

Anonymous said...

You are sounding very tactfull Sir G.

Are you feeling OK?

sir grumpy said...

Always a gentleman and never felt better arsehole. That suit ya better?

sir grumpy said...

By the way, that had humorous intent! We are all getting so touchy you often have to dot the eyes and cross the teas.

Christina said...

I must say every one is being VERY polite today. I'm not sure if I'm on Rita's site, or is this some parallel universe where all is peachy?
I had previously checked out the menu at PB and thought it sounded great.
Must say when Phil and I venture down we've only ever eaten in the Terrace Bar or outside, and I'm unsure if there is a different menu for there and the dining room.

I think it's going to be very hard for Paul to please all of the people all of the time.
Hard enough at the best of times but taking on a new place with one reputation and being a chef with a reputation also, I think will be difficult.
Some people will go there wanting the old PB and others will go wanting the old Paul, some will expect Marque IV, some something different all together. I'm sure Paul wants to make his own Marque {tee hee} on PB and make it his own, just as he did with MIV. I know I knew his place as Paul Foremans restaurant as much as I knew it as Marque IV.
I don't envy Paul one bit and think he has quite a job in front of him. If he can pull this off he'll be legendary!
Spare a thought too for poor Justin at Marque IV. What big shoes to fill.
I for one, can't wait to visit both places once the dust settles.
I wish them both well.

Christina said...

Oh Sir G, just when I thought it was all too polite you brought me back to reality!!!!
Thankyou. xxx

Anonymous said...

Yes, thanks mate, I feel much better now!

Forde Montgomery said...

I doubt this will result in too much controvesy. Paul was simply hired by PB to return the 'restaurant' bit back to the standard of when it first opened. I had some fantastic meals there in it's first ~12months. However over time it slipped badly so most people stuck to the 'pub' area. Thus people see the 'restaurant' as simply the dining area of the 'pub.' Thus short term confusion reigns.

Anonymous said...

I wish Paul Foreman all the very best at Peppermint Bay.
Its a great venu with much promise and should by all rights be one of Australia's best dining venues.

however... the poison chalice that it is, I hope that the locals (and greater locals)owners, and press give it some legs. Knock off the short sighted slaggings and help it fly. I know this place, and I've seen first hand what goes on. Good luck i want this to succeed.

Anonymous said...

Paul Forman's title as I see it is Head Chef.
Over this Winter Peppermint Bay reverted to one menu accross the board but still offered the more formal Dining Room setting for those that wanted to enjoy a more upmarket feel....in the past the Dining Room has closed for a couple of months all together over Winter. So good to have that option of seating still available.
I assume a new Dining Room menu will transpire in the coming months along with the usual changes to the bar menu as tends happens seasonally.

Tess said...

Hey Rita
Just to let you know that Paul's title is actually Head Chef not exec chef.

Christina said...

Head chef, Exec chef, whatever they call him I for one can't wait to experience PB with their new Chef.
Menu looks great.

reb said...

After being fairly regular visitors to PB (usually once every 6 weeks or so), we haven't been back since I was charged $26 for 3 - count them THREE - scallops on a plate as an entree a few months ago.

Can't say I'm in any real hurry to rush back when we have Steve's RVL on our doorstep instead.

stephen said...

Rita at the end of the day the chef will do what he wants to do or leave and the diners will enjoy the chef's food, portion size and all, or they won't. This is what make a restaurant's reputation one way or the other. If sufficient diners don't enjoy what's on offer then at a point in time the owners have a decision to make.
Hobart restaurants do so much that is infuriatingly the same that for my money the risk is worth it.

Anonymous said...

re.menu @ P.B,What state of confusion are we dining in?

sir grumpy said...

Is there accommodation at PB? or perhaps a little B&B nearby.
If I have a big slap-up there I will need the requisite liquids to wash it all down and cannot, of course, drink and drive.

Anonymous said...

Sir Grumpy isn't that why you got married, to have a pilot.
By the way I too am sick of the same old shit. Can't anyone here be original, everyone just copies eachother, jeez talk about insecurity. As for three scallop dude, buy a scallop pie from the local chippie you tight arse, or let me guess, you expect the chef, waiters, heating costs and everything else to come gratis. Wake up and stop being so deluded, service, views convenience etc cost money.

sir grumpy said...

Thanks, but if one is getting lubricated, one's better half will be joining in the spirit of things, so to speak, anon.
But, as we have had to let our chauffeur go, then perhaps a stayover at a modest establishment may prove amusing.

Anonymous said...

Rita - it is interesting to read the comments above. Have we not learnt from your other post on Bruny Island Cheese? This same creates a two-sided opinion on PB establishment. The disappointment is using Anon and having personal attack on other viewers. How can we maintain an open objective view? I can only assume most Anons are either restaurant owners, management, chefs. As for Anon 9:47 having a personal attack on SirG and Reb, it gives me the impression that Anon is either an owner or someone of interest of PB.

In my opinion and I eat out regularly, I don't have a problem paying above an average restaurant pricing if there are lots of imagination creating the dish (using special produce/ingredients) even if the portion is small, but the overall dining experience has to be top notched, including service (which is lacking here in Tasmania). As a matter of fact, I prefer small portion meal so I can experience at least 2 or 3 courses, esp for dinner. Restauranteur and chef should not expect all customers are alike. But, then internal affair in any restaurant, unless you have the autonomy to operate and manage the establishment yourself typically ends in conflict, tension, job dissatisfaction resulting in less than satisfactory meal. Unfortunately, the end of the chain is the customer, and "paying" customer will decide where to go with the limited $$ in the savings.

Incidentally I have eaten at Gondwana and M4 when Paul was the Head Chef and I was happy with my meals and experiences in both restaurants, especially the Confit Duck which I am still raving about it. I can only wish Paul the best at PB, and hope there is not too much influence/interference from the owners/mgmt that may compromise his creativity.

Rita - since you have so many Anons here, I will be an Anon as well, but an Anon who offers a genuine personal opinion with no personal attack on other viewers.

Anonymous said...

To last sanctimonious anon. Too many chefs waste the owners money experimenting & indulging their food fantasies so I for one can understand why an owner might get involved if he or she think that the menu or dish might be too out there for the dining public.
I dont know how you can automatically deduce that someone might be an owner or have interests in PB just because they disagree with some of the commments here, you cant.
Great that you have your opinions but get out of your ivory tower once in a while

reb said...

Anon at 9.47. "Tight-arse?" I guess you missed the point I made about being a regular diner at PB. I have no qualms about paying good money for good food, but 3 scallops on plate for $26 is just a rip off.

Maybe if they had squewered them together on a toothpick it may have made the dish seem more 'substantial'.

But I doubt it.

Please excuse me for having an opinion.

Mental note to self: Next time you're getting ripped off, try to pretend it's not happening.

As for your suggestion I try a scallop pie instead, I'm not really a fan. But you seem well-versed.

Christina said...

I see "polite day" didn't last long.
Good to see all is right with the world.

Anonymous said...

Why all the fuss. Its just a wedding venue & a pub. Who cares?

reb said...

"Its just a wedding venue & a pub. Who cares?"

Good point.

duck leg said...

Sir G - Im sure PB have plans for accommodation in the future.

lemon curd said...

How did it taste reb? I can cope with quality over quantity if it tastes fantastic...

reb said...

Hi Lemon. It was nothing mind-blowing. Just three little pan fried scallops about the size of a ten cent piece each, a bit of garlic and olive oil.

Like you, I have no problem paying for quality if the taste sensation is there, but on this occasion it wasn't. Which is a shame.

But in saying that, I've had plenty of other really enjoyable experiences at PB.

sir grumpy said...

Thanks duck leg,
A nice stay and some indulgence in the dining room would be something to look forward to.
Now if those scallops came with a little salad and a nice piece of crusty bread (with butter) it would probably be better received. A heaped tablespoon or so of dressed salad wouldn't cost much, but would SO eke out the dish. Ditto a slice or two of crusty bread.
Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Is this another case of the chefs(is it Paul & Tess) doing small portions for large egos!
Come on at least try to understandning your (us) market!!!!
well as if they have to care... anyway hasn't Paul applied for another job!!!
cats out of the bag!

Anonymous said...

Old news last anon-He's going to be Tets's head boy at Moorilla

Anonymous said...

Paul at Moorilla or Meadow Bank?
I had heard he was looking at Meadow Bank..head chef with Tet's FANTASIC how lucky are we.
Anyone elso know who's in the kitchen?
M

Anonymous said...

i heard it was luke ex pecora?

Anonymous said...

no luke cant make up his mind what to do pecora was a long time ago now how long did it last 6 months or so not long enough to be taken seriously last I saw hime he was working at drysdale and tricycle maybe still there

Anonymous said...

i think you'll find pecora would've lasted longer if not for a few landlord problems. last time i saw him was at smolt,but that was last january

j.

Anonymous said...

There has also been some movement FOH. I have heard that Justin Johnstone is now working for Andy Low at Moorilla. Since Andy took over food and bev at Moorilla, the standard of service as lifted exponentially. The Source has hit a sweet spot in service and can only continue to get better if this Testsuya hoopla comes to fruition. If Justin is now at Moorilla then it is the devastingly good team of yesteryear of PB at Moorilla. Moorilla also has a shit hot girl (Shelley?). These guys are considered the best in the state. It will be fascinating to see who else Moorilla will attract

Anonymous said...

I heard a whisper that Cumper is going to Moorilla so your PB crew of old rumour might just be true.

Anonymous said...

Its laughable how off the mark you all are with these rumurs! The fact is John Mahindroo & his partner, dont know her name but she is arguably the best FOH person in the state are taking over The Source. They were approached by David Walsh himself who begged them to leave Solicit & turn on the magic at Moorilla. So there1

Rita said...

Jeez - it seems that the more out there a rumour you can think of, the better it sounds!
Currently, if we're to believe all the above, we have the kitchens & FOH at Moorilla staffed by:
Tetsuya
Paul Foreman (and possibly Tess)
Steve Cumper
John Mahindroo
Luke Burgess
Shit hot Shelley
Andy Low
Justin Johnstone
Joan Mahindroo

There'll be no room for the customers if this keeps up - but I suppose at least the food and service should be shit hot!

lemon curd said...

I wonder whether we'll be able to book our preferred waiter? Preferred chef at that!
Imagine "I'll have Andy Low for entree, Shit Hot Shelley for mains, and with Paul Foreman pulling it all together in the kitchen, thanks."!

Rita said...

Or we could take it further, and say, "I feel like Asian tonight, so I'll take a Tetsuya entree & mains, then a Foreman for one of his impressive desserts, and maybe an Andy Low latte!"

Anonymous said...

Dream on, Eveyone! LOL!

Anonymous said...

I think the service at Moorilla also has SO much to answer for. Maybe they just need to get rid of everyone and start again with less egos from everyone.

If Tets does take over, then won't he be bringing his own chefs who know his style and have the skill to exicute the standard that would be expected?

Hmmm... it leaves much to think about on the rumour merry-go-round!

Anonymous said...

Tetsuya may be good for Moorilla, but what about the bigger picture? I hear that Paul Foreman is already unhappy at Peppermint Bay, why can't we look after our top chefs and not need to fly in chefs from the mainland to improve our low standards? Tets may be the short term answer, but we need to look towards the future. I hear that Peppermint Bay have promised much but delivered very little on the deal that bought Paul Foreman from Marque iv. What if the same thing happens to tetsuya and he gets the raw end of the Tasmanian hospitality stick at Moorilla? where would that leave the industy then? in my opinion there is a bigger issue here and it is more important than worrying about Paul Foremand or Tetsuya. I believe that Drysdale is to blame for the low standard of chefs currently in the state causing us to look elsewhere to fill high profile positions. The training modules are out of date and they do not keep up with industry trends, and I hear that some of the teachers do not have a trade certificate qualifying them to be called 'chefs', therefore we have a bunch of 'cooks' teaching the future our our local industry. Sounds like a case of the blind leading the blind! Lets hope that Peppermint Bay respect and support Paul Foreman's desire to turn the restaurant into a top class dinning establishment, and lets pray that Tetsuya turns down the role at Moorilla and instead takes over the Launceston and Hobart Drysdale campus, sacks all of the cooks in charge and instead devlotes his time to retraining our misguided apprentices and young chefs who will be the future of our industry in Tasmania.

Proloteriat Gastronaut said...

Here bloody here. Possibly the most sensible things written on this blog. If Tetsuya cares so much about Tasmania (he has bought a house in Dunnally) then mabye he should start at the crux of the problem - training. Then he can start on the piss poor quality of our veg suppliers!

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, so much to say, but I find it more prudent some times to just shut up. However;

Mirracles do not happen at trade college. This is not where our chefs learn to cook.
Tetsuya is a world class chef, inspirational, and a positive role model from which many will benefit. You look at food scenes where afew inspirational chefs have been, and then trace many of todays greats back to there stables.
Any man with enough cash and drive who is prepared to invest in this state should be taken seriously. I applaud Mr Walsh for his vision, and I hope that the Moorilla team, whatever it will be, takes it that step further and becomes that inspirational stable.
There are some great chefs working here already and I for one would say that some of them could do with a bit more recognition.

Cartouche

Anonymous said...

all this talk about the revolving doors of chefs at peppermint bay steve was there & not only held it together for 3 or so years but put the place on the map what seems to be the problem can no one else measure up

Anonymous said...

more likely no one can put up with the management crap at pb rather than not measuring up

Anonymous said...

Regardless of how much money Mr Walsh has, it will NEVER make up for the way that the staff are treated there!! All this talk about Paul coming and going, (I hope not to Moorilla), why are staff wanting to leave Moorilla?

it only takes one to leave for the others to follow...

Anonymous said...

anon 12.39
Your comment about 'management crap' at Pb is interesting.

Part of being a good chef is to effectively manage your department, staff wages or food costings for instance. Yet the moment that some chefs are called into question on these matters, they take it as some sort of clamp on their creativity.

Too many chefs whinge & complain about having to answer to someone of higher authority than themselves. The owner or mamagement team have the right to querie & suggest ways to help the chef achieve certain outcomes.

Why do some chefs seem so insecure about this?

Last anon, Mr Walsh has spent a lot of money building the Moorilla brand & probably has high expectations of his staff, many of which are simply not up to the job. Its probably a good thing for them to move on & let more professional operators take the venue to the next level, a level that they were not capable of reaching.

Anonymous said...

Cumper dealt with those management issues for years, why is it so different today? I think measuring up is perfectly apt, if you cant stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!

Anonymous said...

But why did cumper leave then if he was dealing with it alright?

steve said...

I haven’t responded to this post until now as my name has been bought up several times. For the record I was the founding chef & my tenure ended after three & a half years in which I worked with some really great hospitality people, including Amy Currant, Kif Webber, Andy Low, Justin Johnstone. Heddy Svenko. Missy Austwick & Jordi Nin. PB was my door-opening to Tassie & I will always remember it fondly for that reason. I also worked very hard there as did many other dedicated people & for that reason I want to see it succeed. I eventually left because I wanted to spend at least one weekend day with my family, so I took a job that afforded me this.

The truth is: no job is ever perfect there are always issues that niggle. That’s life.

I was very pleased to learn that Peppermint Bay had finally attracted someone of the calibre of Paul Foreman to lead the kitchen. His appointment will no doubt bring the delivery of the food offering to the highest level.
I can understand the ripples of excitement & expectation that his involvement brings but I think its way too early to start judging because everyone needs time to settle into the rhythm of a new job.

PB is a busy venue, especially in Summer. I cannot name another venue in the state where one kitchen provides all the food for the dining room, the bar area, numerous functions & all the meals on board the boat. This makes it unique in my view & why the job of Head Chef is particularly challenging. I think people should ease up on the speculation & just let him get on with his job.

In my experience there, I learned that I could never please every customer & developed a thick skin. What was evident was that many people have strong views on the place, particularly the Channel locals & they don’t always see eye to eye! This always made for robust & pithy conversations in the front bar after a shift!

With all of this apparent hand wringing at the state of play within the hospitality industry here in Tasmania I would have thought an appointment such as this would be the just the salve to calm some of the Tassie hospitality bashers out there, there is hope.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12.39, I wasn't refering to chefs, the rumour has it that the staff in general are treated like crap! What good is a brand when no wants to work there? Millions of dollars or not, treat your staff badly and they leave, often being very hard to replace- whether it is in the kitchens, on the floor, in the winery, accommodation or accounts, regardless of the department that they leave. When they leave the experience, knowledge and good will goes with them! (i would guess that this would apply to any industry)

Anonymous said...

Anon 1.48. You say rumur has it that the staff are treated like crap at Moorilla? I dont think that rumurs are helpful. If you have first hand experience of this so called crap happening, then i could understand your gripe but all you are doing is stirring without any basis of truth. Maybe you are one of the ones who couldn't cope there as well?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1.56. I can vouch for that. There are many good and dedicated staff that have left Moorila's empoly based on the way they were treated. Remember all that glitters is not gold and I do not think that Mr. Walsh has a full idea as to what goes on behing the scenes, which for all his passion and dedication is quiet sad. All places suffer from some rumours but a lot of it, unfortunately, is true in this industry.

Anonymous said...

As an executive chef working in tasmania and been here for over 5 years, I would say that tasmania has alot of great chefs giving it a go and tasmanians can't blame drysdale for all the short commings as it's your responsiblity to train your apprentices right. I enjoy eating out in tassie and sure sometimes it's not as good as london but at least the chefs here are still turning upto work and doing the hard yards. keep up the bitching so you can scare all the good chefs away and you'll have no where to eat!!! btw go paul i ate at peppermint bay a week ago and have nothing to complain about my meal it was excellent.

Anonymous said...

Just to revert back to the question regarding “what is an Executive chef”.
To give you a mainlanders opinion if I may,
An executive chef is responsible for multiple outlets, two or many more restaurants within an establishment.
The exec chef is on the executive committee, reports directly to the general manager and works along side the director of food and bev. The term exec chef is generally thrown around the industry far too often and is used out of context by young ignorant chefs or organizations that have no clue of the large scale food industry.
A chef that is responsible for a sole concept, team or restaurant is a head chef. He or she generally create and deliver one style of cuisine and run a small to medium team of chefs.
An executive chef has and executive sous chef and then chef de cuisines (head chefs) running his restaurants and food concepts.
A head chef is a chef de cuisine and in a large brigade would answer to an exec sous chef and have to book a meeting with chef.
Does an Exec chef cook?? YES when needed however not often.
Basically a true Exec chef earns easily 100K plus. A very well paid head chef is lucky to cap out at 90K at the very very best. Most head chefs are lucky to earn 75K.
There is one exec chef role in Tassie and that would be at the casino and at a push, maybe the chancellor.

Rita said...

Thanks for your more in-depth explanation about that Anon 10.15. I myself have learnt a lot from that comment, and hope others have as well.

Anonymous said...

Rumour has it that Foreman has resigned from PB. A comment was made in another thread. Confirmation?