I still cannot believe that I get to spend a week in places like Le Gavroche. In the past I have had the absolute delight of being treated to two delicious meals at this iconic London restaurant; never imagining I would one day be seeing and living the life behind the scenes in the kitchen.
The first day at any new job or work experience is always nerve wracking and the first time I walk into any any new kitchen I feel the same nerves. To be honest, I could stand in a kitchen and just soak up the atmosphere - I love it. However, kitchens are always so busy... You want to help but sometimes you do slow things down with everyone taking the time to explain and show you how to do things. Everything from showing you where ingredients are in the fridges to finding the cling film! Every restaurant I’ve been in I've had to play hunt the cling film and then... Hunt the ends of the cling film! But the reward is by the end of the week I find my feet and later can reflect on just how very much I’ve learnt.
My first day at Le Gavroche I met Rachel Humphrey, Executive Chef. I am so inspired by women who are so successful in their own field and Rachel is one of them, she has been at Le Gavroche since 1996 when she started as an apprentice and worked her way up through the ranks. Rachel put me to work on the starter section with Claire, it’s wonderful to see different components of dishes coming together. The attention to detail on every aspect of prepping all of the different elements is fascinating to see. Although I missed the recipe for that signature cheese soufflé dish.
Next I worked on the fish section, fish is one of my very favourite things to eat, I source fresh fish from the fabulous Fish For Thought (fishforthought.co.uk) at home all the time but like all things it is so easy to get stuck in a rut with the same food combinations and buying the same fish. What I loved was how incredibly generous Marco was with his knowledge in prepping all the sauces and sides to go with the fish my brain is spinning and I’ve been so inspired to write a whole load of new recipes.
A big shout out to Sam and all the other chefs in different sections that I worked with, or just watched, they were so helpful and I learnt so much. I must remember to write down a lot more on the long train journeys home but I am normally shattered and quite brain dead so spend the weekend after, just typing frantically trying to write a whole weeks’ worth of learning in one sitting.
Finally, I obviously must mention Michel Roux Jr, I so love his style, his commitment through the Roux Scholarship and other endeavours to educating and bringing on young chefs, front of house and all aspects of this bonkers industry I have suddenly found myself in. I first met him at the BBC Good Food Show Hampton Court and he took the time to include me. I am a bit embarrassed to say but I’m in awe of chefs like Michel they are my rock stars and it’s so lovely when your food heroes are as lovely in person as they appear.
So a big thank you for allowing me in your restaurant, taking the time to chat and the inspiration, I learnt so much and had a ball.