The Sandrock - Real Ale Pub & Restaurant, Farnham

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The Morning Advertiser PubChef Awards 2006

The competition to find the Pub Chef of the Year 2006 has started with 12 category cook off's being held at the Meat and Livestock Commission headquarters in Milton Keynes.

The Sandrock's landlady and head chef Carol Haime was able to reach this years final in the "Beer with Food" category, matching an oriental seafood platter with Enville Ginger, a real ale from the West Midlands.

The five finalist were selected from thousands of entries after impressing judges on paper with a dish recipe and method. Judges also looked at their pub's menu and information about what they believe constitutes good pub food and beer.

We also held a "Beer with food" themed food evening at The Sandrock to celebrate being finalists at the PubChef awards.

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The Dish and Beer

Carol chose to cook an Oriental seafood platter matched with Enville Ginger. Enville brewery can be found in the countryside just outside Brierley Hill, Dudley. It is a small family brewery which produces many fine real ales, many of them are made with Honey instead of sugar, which is made by the owner Will Cort. Enville Ginger is a traditional cask ale brewed with honey and fresh ginger, it is pale in colour and is light and refreshing with a slight ginger warmth in the aftertaste.

The Dish consisted of a large king prawn wrapped in rice noodles and nori seaweed and deep fried with a soy sauce, ginger and garlic dip; seared scallops, marinated in olive oil, garlic, ginger and soy sauce on a bed of stir fried vegetables with chilli, coriander and orange juice; a Thai crabcake, fresh crab meat with lemongrass, chilli, coriander, tamarind and lime juice.

Carol decided to use Enville ginger with this dish as it complements, and it is complemented by, the food and clears the palate between the different elements.

The following article was published in The Morning Advertiser following the cook off

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Following Carol being named as one of the finalists in the 2006 PubChef awards, the Farnham Herald ran the following article:

A kind hearted Farnham pub Landlady has received national recognition for her outstanding cooking, and will use profits from her success to help a local charity.

Carol Haime of The Sandrock near Rowledge entered The Morning Advertiser Pub Chef Awards and beat hundreds of other competitors to finish in the top 5 of the Beer with Food category. To celebrate her outstanding achievement, Carol will be holding a special Beer with Food night on November 30th with a large chunk of any profits going to Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice.

Carols achievement is even more remarkable for the fact that she has cooked professionally for less than a decade and competed against seasoned campaigners.

Previous to her time in the pub industry, Carol was a city trader. She had, however, always harboured ambitions to own her own business, saying that the only reason she worked in the city was to earn enough money to do what I really wanted, which was to open my own pub.

Since The Sandrock has been in Carols care, she has been committed to providing a variety of real ales for her customers, a speciality which was long established at the pub even before her arrival. She has, however, totally transformed the menu at the pub.

Recently having to work 95-hour weeks because of staffing problems, Carol had little time in which to prepare for the competition, which makes her accomplishment even more outstanding.

Carol impressed the judges with an oriental seafood platter, comprising fish such as Scallops and king prawns, as well as her speciality, Thai crab cakes. She wanted to try and do something unusual, and to serve it with real, proper cask ale.

Recalling her successful day at the Meat and Livestock Commission in Milton Keynes, Carol conceded that she was surprised by the pressure involved with the occasion.

It was amazing and very much like the cookery programmes you see on the TV. You had an hour and 15 minutes to cook and dish up the food and really had to get it done on time.

All the time youre cooking youve got judges hovering round and asking you questions, so it wasnt easy.

Was she disappointed not to win it? A little but really as soon as I got there I realised that it was a top, top competition so I was just happy to reach the final.

People interested in attending the special evening at The Sandrock on November 30th [2006] should ring Carol on 01252 715865 for more details.

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