On my first day at Fifteen my nerves were high and the tension in my neck was strong. For only working in a kitchen just under a year, how was I supposed to match up to those who had either trained or worked a lot longer than me in this restaurant and teach the trainees as well? This wasn't like my last kitchen, twice the size, twice the covers and five times the amount of chefs. Lucky for me every one was very supportive. Someone would be with me on the first day then I was on my own. Lucky, a graduate from the 6th group was to be my help on the Anti-pasti section, Carlton. He had a big smile and a even bigger gold tooth shinning from his smile. I still say if I could work along side Carlton for the rest of my career I would be a lucky guy. Not only did he show me the ropes, we helped motivate each other to be better cooks. Not having much experience under my belt learning quickly was vital and fortunately Carlton and myself had found a routine with each other and was able to quickly get my prep done. So on quiet days offering my services to the pasta chefs at the time came in handy and they were more than willing to assist as it meant less work for them! Doing the best to show the trainees how to run the anti-pasti section and always reassuring them that my experience was almost as little as theirs. They respected that and in return I felt that they helped me learn as well.
I took advantage of what I could, doing 16 hour shifts then getting picked up at midnight by Big Kev to work another 12 hours free at a fishmongers. Who is Big Kev? A whole book could be written on that however for the sake of making things short, if you were to come into the kitchen about noon on a Wednesday or Thursday you would find a Goliath of a man, as tall as he is wide wreaking of fish. Now he didn't have the essence of fresh fish because of bad hygienic practises, not at all it was because he had just finished a normal 12-13 hour shift at the mongers to come all the way to fifteen to show the trainees how to prep fish. This was all off his own back, all from his heart. To few are there men like Big Kev.
|Preparing in the early hours!|
Six months was spent on Anti-Pasti and Carlton had moved on to a new restaurant with bigger opportunities for him and he is doing exceptionally well. In February of this this year I moved onto the Pasta section in the Trattoria and have been there since. I have been able to touch several sections as cover and have been to Sillfield Farm in Cumbria, Mordon sea salt factory in Essex and all through Le Marche region in Italy thanks to Fifteen, helped run a supper club and done many events. Curred meat and spent a month baking bread with Stewart. I plan on leaving next year with Madara to Italy. Until then I look forward to see what will happen next.
|With group 9 at Sillfield farm|
My next blogg will be on spending time with the trainees in Cumbria and some more work in the kitchen! Thanks for reading!