I had the honour of being asked if I could be interviewed by Chef Life TV. A content producer from New York, USA. Naturally I said yes!
Watch the Instagram Live session here.
A much needed respite for me personally while taking a short break away from social media.
I hope to return to producing my own podcast very soon. Listen/Subscribe to The Split Shift Podcast too.
It’s been way too long ladies and gentlemen. Blame the Lockdowns, blame brexit, blame whoever you want. But the long and short of it is that I really have not had the motivation to write anything which I felt worthy of sharing. I’ve always tried to keep my blogs relevant, current and relatable to the hospitality industry and chefs in particular. The problem has been that as the pandemic has gone on, with no end in sight, I’ve really have had nothing new to say. I shared my “Top tips” of things to do during lockdown version 1. Then we thought it was all over! Returning for Rishi Dishies. Packed pubs and restaurants for a month. People gorging themselves like a scene from Caligula🤣. We believed we were out of the other side and free. The history books to come will baffle the students of the future. “What were they thinking?...” But that also depends on who writes the history books I guess. Certain politicians seem to have no problem with omitting some details from historical events, so long as it suits their narrative. But that is a whole other blog. Don’t do politics, Brian!
But here we are, chefs. Up to our crotches in Lockdown 3, with an ever rising tide of confusing news headlines and information. Hospitality could open in 2 weeks or 2 months. Loads more restrictions or no restrictions? For now, we just pace around. Warming up like 100 meter sprinters in an olympic final. One eye on the starter block, one eye on the finish line. Praying that no one makes another false start.
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to speak with a few chefs and people from the industry. Some who are fortunate enough to still have work, some who have not. Many have fallen by the wayside as the pubs, restaurants and hotels have closed their, usually well oiled revolving door, for the last time. My heart goes out to these kings and queens of the hospitality sector who have been forced to find alternative means of income. From stacking shelves in the supermarket to delivering for Amazon and Deliveroo. I feel even more pain in my heart to those who changed their jobs just prior to the pandemic. Now they are in limbo. No employer, no income, and no protection. That is an issue which is bigger than hospitality.
There does seem to be an element of positivity form a large percentage of the people who i have spoken with. The realisation that once we return to some form of normality, the hospitality sector will flourish again. Professionals across this sector will be able to choose how and where they work. Some have started their own businesses on their own during lockdown. Some have discovered new passions which they may pursue. Some have had a chance to find clarity and maybe realised that they don’t need the #Cheflife as much as they thought.
Every single one of us has grown more than we ever thought we’d need to. We have all been forced to evolve on a personal and professional level. No one could have predicted the impact that this global catastrophe has had on us.
It is down to us to start thinking about how we want to emerge from this pandemic. As individuals and as a collective. We needed a shake up and we got it. We must now decide whether we want to return to form. As an industry which has seen some of its employees as disposable. We need to remember where we were at just before this Coronavirus started. Remember the work we were doing for mental health. Remember the people and businesses which didn't make it though. Remember the staff who are risking infection to keep the business alive.
We still have a way to go. We hope that time will favor us. Let's hope that we, as a society, learn from this, and put systems in place. So that the generations that come after us NEVER have to go through a global pandemic ever again.
Where do I start? What a shitshow this year has been already. The covid19 numbers just seem to be going up and up. People are still dying from this. Some folks are still believing their own conspiracy theories. From 5G Bats to Bill Gates mind control experiments. Meanwhile, I'm sitting on my couch rewatching The Mandolorian because I've pretty much completed Netflix.
I made the decision to stop watching the News, ever since I lost all faith in humanity. Seeing the Trump supporters, breaking into the Capitol building in the USA. I want to say that it’s not relevant or any of my business, but I can't relax while Trump still has access to the nuclear codes. I’d like to return to work while it’s still there and not buried in a radioactive, post apocalyptic wasteland.
So,where are we at? Part of the reason I’ve struggled to write blogs recently (besides not having anything to say) has been the way the news headlines change so rapidly, it’s difficult to stay relevant. As I’m writing this, I have just had a notification pop up saying that Pubs and Restaurants may not open until May. By the time you’re reading this, that may well be the situation or not….
I can’t pretend that I’m enjoying the time off. This time round, the weather has been terrible. Those long summer walks and tanning sessions in the garden are a distant memory. The Sourdough making sessions have gone stale. The motivation to do anything productive has totally gone. The strain on my relationship with my wife is very telling. When one partner is still working full time from home. Meanwhile, the other is barely getting dressed, it only takes the smallest spark to ignite the tinderbox of emotions. But that’s a whole different blog for another day.
A flurry of inspiration a few weeks ago saw me applying to go to University, which rather surprisingly, I got in. This has led me to revisit my very basic maths and science skills in preparation for a degree in Nutrition.
This time, The boredom has been crushing. Every time I feel that the pandemic finish line is in sight,a new news story would reveal a spike in covid cases. I know that so many chefs are now chomping at the bit to return to their kitchen. Although the anxiety levels are pretty high. The first few days off were filled with concerns about “did I lock the Walk in fridge?” Then more recently, I’m wondering if that portion of Brie de Meaux got binned, or is it still in the corner of the starter fridge, stinking up the place.
I’m realising that this blog is actually going nowhere. I still have very little to say. I guess I am just venting my boredom and frustration. It’s hard to stay focused when the end is not in sight.
Any that's it. …. Ooh, what's this? Lupin on Netflix looks good….
âMerry Christmas, Chefs! This is the second attempt at writing this blog, as the first one spiralled into a depressing pile of drivel about how shit 2020 has been. We all know that already, Iâm not dealing with that bollocks. Also, by the time youâre reading this, the rules and situation may have changed again. Youâre either, scrolling though social media while laid up in your furlough position on your furlough sofa. Or you are on moments break during a busy service. Maybe even taking a moment away from looking for a new job or career. Either way, thanks for taking a moment to read this.
Letâs reflect on the positive things to come from 2020. Some great chefs have risen to the fore. Kerth Gumbs blasted on to our screens. Lighting up Great British Menu and our Instagram feeds. Tom Kerridge has released a new cookbook which seems to be on every chefs Christmas wish list (Hint Hint). Youâve probably perfected your sourdough recipe during the first lockdown and learned too many TikTok dances. Many chefs have been doing their bit for their local communities. Providing food for local charities and those less fortunate. Some have been hosting online tutorials to share their skillset with other chefs and home cooks. I, myself offered some cook-along classes via Zoom and Facebook. I have to say, that was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Connecting with people online as we all muddle through this pandemic together.
We, as an industry have shown how we can adapt to this pandemic with only a few days notice. Takeaway only? Sure. Tables of six maximum? Sure, we got it. Same households only? Ok, no problem Boris. You want the minimum wage bar staff to police that too? Errr OK? We have shown our resilience. Even when the floodgates opened for the Rishi Dishi event, also known as the Eat Out to Help Out campaign. We were there. Day one, took a lot of us by surprise. But by week 2 we got it worked out. Well. Some of us did. Others bailed in a fanfare of âfuck that!â We should be so proud of how we have come together as a business sector. Suppliers and wholesalers all working together with compassion and understanding so that we can all try to survive.
Iâve literally just got off the phone with one of my fish suppliers for this weekendâs delivery. Signing off the call with âweâll see what next week bringsâ Neither of us knowing which Tier we are about to be dropped in to.
We in hospitality have the capability to evolve and adapt, almost overnight in some cases. Turning a food-led pub into a cook-at-home meal kit supplier. Chefs wearing face shields and masks, trying not to suffocate. Michelin starred chefs now vacuum sealing their talent for the domestic cooks to try and replicate, reheat and not destroy at their convenience. Pallets of plastic takeaway boxes awaiting to be filled by the chefs at restaurants and pubs up and down the country, each sealed food portion containing a little disapproving look from Ms Thunberg and many other environmentalists. Itâs a little ironic that we now prefer our fruit and veg wrapped in plastic at the supermarkets. A perspective which would have drawn heavy criticism just 18 months ago. Hopefully, weâll return to the plastic free, or greener plan once we see daylight at the end of this pandemic, if not sooner. Saving the planet, much like many other global issues, seems to have taken a back seat. We can only hope that our new normal narrative will contain a little more foresight and not be brushed off as âTomorrows problemâ â¦.hope.
Christmas is just a few days away and this was supposed to be a festive blog. All I can really do is wish you all a merry Christmas. Letâs hope 2021 is a better year for everyone. The Christmas party season is a non-event this year. In my 30 years as a chef, Iâve only ever had one festive period off. That was due to a job change and I managed to wrangle the whole of December off prior to starting. On reflection, that period of my life could have been seen as a trial Lockdown. I had shut myself off from society and I had become at one with my armchair. All being well, by the time you are reading this, you have something which resembles a new normal for you. Some consistency. I hope you can see a pathway through 2021 and beyond. Better days are coming, thatâs my promise to you. If you are going through crap right now. I can assure you that weâll soon be returning to moaning about the hours, the over booked restaurant, the management who think we are magicians. Weâll look back on the Furlough days with rose tinted glasses. Remembering the lazy sunny afternoons and the boredom with fondness. Stay positive. Reach out and chat with your peers. No one is finding it easy right now. Try to stay safe and healthy.
Although we should celebrate our successes through 2020, there is room for improvement. The level of cohesion throughout the industry does fall short at the top end unfortunately. Through no fault of our own, we have a clear lack of representation at the highest level. There is a campaign to appoint a government minister to represent the Hospitality sector. A sector with is worth Â£130 Billion in the UK alone. If youâre interested thereâs a link to the petition Here.
âIt looks like this lock is going to be keeping us away from our kitchens for a little while longer chefs. If you have maintained your sanity up to this point, then, well played. I have listed a few tips and ideas to keep you going for the next few weeks/months.
1: How is your relationship going? Have you pissed off your partner yet? Is he or she still having to work from home while you are sat there, binge watching Tiger King? My tip here is to STAY OUT OF THE WAY! They are probably really resenting you right now. They still have to put in a shift, while you are sitting around in your undies. Go and hide upstairs or in the kitchen. Try not to make too much noise, they have no interest in your latest Instagram post. Keep them in tea n coffee. We may be out of the hospitality game professionally, but at home, it's time to be Maitre D.
2: How about you go and sharpen your knives. Seriously! You brought your knives home from work, right? Do you own a whetstone? Go and watch a few videos on YouTube. That knife you used to love can be restored to its former glory with a little time and care. Knife sharpening is a great skill to master too. My advice would be to practice on a knife you don't mind ruining. Grab a shit, blunt one from the kitchen drawer.
3: Here's another idea, chef. Shave that fucking beard off! You look like a knob mate! You grew it to be a bit edgy and hipster. Now we are all just looking at those little bits of food you have got hanging from it. Like something from the Twits. That goes for the men too!
4: Sourdough. Just an idea. I don't think many chefs are doing it right now. Try and be a trend setter. Obviously, that is a joke! So many chefs are making sourdough right now. The reason? We don't ever get the time to look after something like this normally. Sourdough starters rely on consistent nurturing. We have been dropped into a situation where we can look after something this meticulously. If not Sourdough, make a cookery video for your friends and family. Why not? You've always thought you could do better than Ainsley! Now's the time to shine.
5: On the the subject of looking after something. I have got hooked on playing SIMS freeplay on my phone. Do not judge me. But I will be looking for my Tamagotchi soon too. Time to revive the little critters. I think my obsession with SIMS comes from my need to lead. It's filling the Head Chef space which is now a void. As far as my household is concerned, I am just the Commis in this domestic hierarchy.
6. New kit. Is it time to update your whites? When we eventually get back, it'll be great to open a fresh new Oliver Harvey Jacket (that's my personal choice) Maybe invest in some new trousers. The ones with the clingfilm belt have got to go! Knives too. I mentioned earlier about sharpening your old ones. Maybe it is also time to freshen things up with a new blade. Just don't tell your partner how much it costs!!!
7. Make a TikTok
8. Hang out with other chefs. Virtually. Set up a Zoom or Skype meet up. You do it! Don't wait for Someone else to organise it. It's not like you don't have the time! We all need the support from each others right now, more than ever. Share & like each others posts on Socials. Make a list of those who have had your back. Also remember those who have been proper dicks! Karma, good and bad, will visit post Lockdown.
9: Ok. I'm gonna say it. Exercise, Chef! You're not burning up the calories that you would normally, during that sixteen hour shift. The new chef whites will be a necessity, not a luxury at this rate, chunky butt! I know we're only allowed one form of outdoor exercise a day, but that does not mean you can't do something indoors. Make sure it counts too. Work up a sweat.
Don't take the piss here, but I actually bought myself a skipping rope. Stop laughing!.... If it works for pro boxers, it can work for me. But maybe I should stop singing nursery rhymes at the same time too. May explain the looks from the neighbours. ð
10: Recipes. How organised is your folder? That little black book is starting to look a little tired. Go on! Freshen it up. Get a new book started and transfer those scrappy bits of paper over to it. Or even go digital. Get it backed up on to a cloud platform. OneDrive, GoogleDrive or whatever. Get it put online so you can get remote access to it whenever you want... and have wifi/Data.
You never know. It may lead to you writing that cookbook you always said that you would.
11. Lastly, but by no means, least. Get your head right. Work on things which make you feel good. This Lockdown is bloody hard on all of us. The whole world is struggling and there are millions of people in a far worse situation than us. I know that is not making you feel better. It's just an unfortunate truth.
The only real advice I can pass on, is that we must try to not dwell on the things we are missing out on. The holidays, the drinks with friends and wearing jeans. Instead, try to appreciate the moments you are in. We are living a historic event. Enjoy the time with your household or the opportunity to catch up with friends online. Enjoy the walks (responsibly). Nature has gone wild. I live in the heart of Ipswich in Suffolk and we have have had a Muntjac running around my street, ending up in my garden (No, I didn't cook it!). Admittedly, it was pretty petrified, but the animals are noticing the quieter roads.
So, focus on the positives. If you have been Furloughed and you have a job to go back to, nice. Take the break and try to improve yourself. Not only as a chef, but as a person too. Unless you're already perfect like me. Hahahahahahhaa!
*Wife rolls her eyes*
Stay home, stay safe.
It was around 5pm on a Monday evening when the announcement came in over the news. Boris Johnson had just told the British public to avoid going to the pubs. This was one of his first measures introduced to try and slow the spread of COVID-19. Errr, thanks mate! I’d literally spent the whole day doing Mise En Place for the next few days, as my new Sous Chef was away on an ill-timed trip to Ireland. My first reaction was, on reflection a little selfish and rash.
The feeling of “what the fuck!” swept through the industry like its own unique natural disaster. Lots of professionals and restaurateurs took to social media, demanding explanations from the government. The handbrakes had been put on. Chefs, bars staff and food servers were all in the dark. Business owners were being asked questions they could not answer. More importantly, did I need to order more minced beef for tomorrow? 😊 I was down to my last batch of chilli. Were we closing? I had placed orders with suppliers for later in the week. Come on Boris, give me a heads up! Mother’s Day was just days away. The stock levels were already starting to reflect this. Professionally, this could not have come at a worse time. Mother’s day is the day the hospitality industry waits for. Usually the most frantic and intense service of the year. It makes and breaks chefs and waiters alike. But already, the cancellations were coming in, from some of those who had already taken heed of what our Prime Minister had instructed.
One of the most frustrating parts, from my perspective, was getting in touch with some of the part time kitchen staff. Letting them know that they would not be needed until further notice. Not having any real information for them apart from that. We were in unprecedented times.
Over the next few days, the situation escalated. We gathered in the bar to watch the daily announcements from number 10. Waiting to find out if we were going to be told we had to close. Primarily, were we going to get paid. People were still coming in to the pub, despite advice from the World Health Organisation. I guess some people felt that they knew better than the smart souls, in the science labs, who have researched this shit. I was only there through obligation. Doing my best to avoid contact with everyone who strolled into the bar. Watching the global, daily death tolls rising. Knowing I have friends and family in the regions they were discussing. Surely It’ll never get that bad here? Look at us now!
When the word did finally come from Number 10, I was just setting up for a Friday evening service. I knew an imminent lockdown was on the cards, but the air of disbelief in the pub was visible. By 6pm there was a throng of survivalists at the bar, clambering for their last beverages. As much as I appreciated the trade coming through the door, everyone who came in, I eyed with caution. You washed your hands bruv? I just wanted to get home to my family.
I could see the stress it was putting on people around me. The pub has recently had a brand new kitchen installed, along with some other refurbishments. Due to open any day. A lot of money had been spent on getting it ready. Frustratingly close to completion. My seven year wait for the new cooking space was coming to an end, so we thought. Everything was now on hold. But the news from the government was a small piece of welcome relief. A few assurances were announced which lifted a lot of our pressures. There were still uncertainties, but the atmosphere was definitely lightened by the knowledge that we would be getting some sort of pay.
under wraps for now.Over the days which followed, Chefs up and down the country were offering take away and delivery services to help clear remaining stocks. Some are carrying this on for the foreseeable future. But a majority of employers are starting to look towards the welfare of their staff. After all, community starts at home.
As for the future, who knows? This lockdown looks to be going on for a while. A few restaurants and bars may fall by the wayside and not recover. But I sincerely hope, we can all get back to where we were. I have a shiny new kitchen waiting for me and I really am starting to miss being “Chef”. My wife and kids have never eaten so well. It’s still fun to raid the kitchen cupboards and create dishes in the style of Ready-Steady-Cook! But I feel this novelty may wear off as the lockdown progresses.
Once this is all over, I hope that the public look to reinvest in the British economy, by literally pissing it away. Hitting the pubs, restaurants and theatres. Calling out the plumbers and electricians to fix all the jobs we’ve bodged up around the house during this lockdown. Meeting with friends and family, face to face and hugging them like never before.
I hope the sense of community stays with us and we all respect those who helped keep us going during this crisis. The Shop workers, the medical professionals and the people who have kept us connected. The entertainers, the writers, the musicians and even social media personalities, who are doing their part to provide content and memes for scrolling fingers.
Stay Home, Save Lives.
Over the past year, I have been fortunate enough to be asked to visit schools and colleges. Talking with students taking GCSE cookery and to those in catering colleges. I’ve helped out in food tech lessons and had the opportunity to speak with the young people about possible careers within hospitality. I personally feel that this is something we, as chefs, should be putting ourselves forward for. Engaging with young people. Showing them alternative industries. Our industry is fading out at grassroots level. It’s not really being offered as a career choice in high schools or from parents. Working in hospitality is largely seen as a job you do while training for something else. The British perception of a young person working behind a bar or as a waiter is that it is not their proper job! As for chefs. Well they just appear. There seems to be no acknowledgement that some people WANT to be chefs. Restaurants are just opened by people who like to cook…. Or the French!
I’d go in to schools and do my thing. A little cookery demonstration, help out with lessons and talk about my career. By no means the most extravagant career. But I’ve travelled, I’ve eaten, I’ve met some of the coolest people. This profession has been good to me. That’s not to say it hasn’t tried to kill me a few times. Careers in the kitchen are often overlooked. I can honestly say that the jobs mentioned by careers advisors while I was at school were heavily focused around white-collar jobs. (And I don’t mean chef jackets). Doctors, accountants, vets, business owners, teachers and that executive lifestyle. I understand that a lot of things may have changed nowadays. But for me, back in the 90’s (so long ago) it was a time which felt like there were only a handful of career options. Pick one… NOW! I still feel that 15/16 years old is far too young to be trying to think of a career, but that’s another blog, for another day.
After my visits to schools. I’d often get a message from the parents of a child asking for advice on careers as a chef for their son or daughter. Result!!!
So, here is some of the advice I pass on:
• There are so many types of chefs these days. From High-End Michelin Star and private yacht chefs to social media food stylists. The careers can be so varied and ranging. Don’t think for one second, that being a chef is all about wearing whites and shouting like Ramsay! Look into the different aspects of hospitality. Get experience of different types of cooking, food service and restaurants. Where you start is rarely how you’ll end up. Many fine dining cooks have turned to street food trucks. Café cooks who have turned to large scale event catering. Go get that experience.
• Move around: following on from previous point. Your CV should show different experiences. This is where the hospitality sector is different to most other careers. Employers like to see people who have moved around either within a company or to somewhere new. I’ve always said that 2years is a good amount of time to learn and move on. Especially in the early part of your career. Once you’ve found a position or role you are happy with and suits you, then it’s over to you.
• The hours are LONG. You will be on your feet for 12 hour days. You will put in the miles as a chef. So it’s really important that you look after yourself physically and mentally. So, factor this in when you are moving around in your career. If you find an employer or role which supports your own wellbeing, then it’s worth sticking out. These are rare unfortunately. You want to be able to take breaks, holidays and have people around you who make you feel good.
• Ask questions throughout your career. You will never stop learning. Food trends change constantly. There is always something new to learn. A few years ago, when I was teaching a mature learners class, I was shown how to make traditional samosas by one of my Somalian students. I absolutely loved that day. The teacher, becoming the student.
We are seeing a slight resurgence in the hospitality field, with people taking more of an interest through TV shows like Great British Menu, MasterChef Professionals and the wealth of cookery shows on streaming services. Unfortunately, there are a few shows which do very little to ingratiate this life as a chef. Highlighting the pitfalls, aggression and stress which can come with the Chef-life Hashtag. It’s our role as real chefs, real restaurant and bar staff, real hospitality workers to make ourselves accessible to anyone who shows an interest in this industry. Spare five minutes to talk to the those who ask. We don’t want to be replaced by vending machines.
Thanks for reading. I’d love to know: What advice would you pass on? Tell me your positive industry stories? Have a great 2020! #CookStrong
A few weeks ago, I was asked to visit my former High School. I am a member of the Alumni network and have visited the school previously. On finding out that this was to be quite a large class, I asked another former pupil and chef to come and help me out. My main man Chef Ross and I put a plan together which we felt would be fun, entertaining and most importantly engaging and educational.
We'd been instructed that the class were planning on being involved in a Tunnocks Teacake Challenge. Also they were looking for inspiration for their GCSE examination presentations.
The session we put together started with a brief chat about presentation techniques which include a short video from Massimo Bottura. Where he explains the origins on his famous "Oops, I dropped the Lemon Tart"
Chef Ross and I were able to also demonstrate some plating techniques. I had a small selection of edible flowers, micro herbs purees and vegetables. A few pupils had a go at presenting versions of the dish which I had shown them.
Ross then showed two versions of Eton Mess. Traditional and a fine dining version. Both equally impressive...and delicious!
A massive thanks to Northgate High School for the invitation. Also thanks to the pupils who were great fun.
Also. Thanks to Chef Ross Cook of Ravenwood Hall too.
I recently watched the first few episodes of The Brigade on BBC. This was a show centred around Chef Jason Atherton building a team of chefs to compete against kitchens and established teams from around Europe. I was first drawn to the concept of this show, as it was targeting real chefs, chefs like me. Chefs who donât necessarily have that Michelin Star/ Rosette experience, but are passionate about being chefs. I thought this was something I could get my teeth in to.
Shortly into the first episode, I started to feel unnerved. To be clear, this is not a TV show review. What unsettled me was the use of language. In our industry which is dying on its ass due to the lack of new chefs coming through. The show seemed to be doing its best to showcase the hardline, military-like leadership strategies which have seen a lot of good chefs crumble and leave kitchens across the world. Full respect to Mr Atherton and his collection of Michelin Stars. I donât doubt his talent and ability. I have no place to judge his cooking or his management style. This was just something which led me to think and consider my own leadership style. Is my own laidback, mild mannered nature holding me back.
Iâve always been a self-proclaimed nice guy. I rarely raise my voice in the kitchens Iâve worked in. Iâm all about encouragement and lifting my team up, as opposed to shaming, boot-camping and ruling by fear. But I also donât have Michelin stars to protect.
Chef Atherton referred to his two other chefs as his Lieutenants on a few occasions, reinforcing the military language. I guess this fits the tone of the show. Handing power to chefs as a reward, while humiliating others with the black jersey of the Kitchen Porter role. This reminded me of my early days in the kitchens of hotels. Something I look back on and cringe at the thought of the language we used with each other. Where bullying was âbanterâ. Where any sign of weakness was looked at with disdain. âMental Healthâ would raise a laugh at its very mention. Oh how times have changed.
These TV shows are designed to entertain. Those who go in for them, usually know what they are letting themselves in for. I just found the process a little washed out. By this, I mean it over simplified the process of chef training, skill development and character building. In a way, I wish the show was longer. I wished it involved more training and more simple cookery challenges. Having chefs compete against Michelin Starred kitchen brigades is a heavily flawed concept. But thatâs modern television I guess.
To reiterate my point. This is not a pub chef from Ipswich (me), going-in on a Michelin Star chef! I have full admiration for Chef Jason Atherton. Although his clumsy, pidgin English when speaking with other European language speaking chefs, did give me a giggle. I guess my issue is wholly to do with the shows concept and editing. I have big issues with chefs being pushed âto breaking pointâ for someoneâs dinner. âIf he breaks, he breaks!â is not a phrase I ever want to hear in a kitchen. Especially heading in to 2020. We canât expect chefs to be thrown into elite kitchen and be able to produce food on that level. At one point Chef Atherton compares it to coming up from the championship, in to the premier league, against Man City. No. This is only comparable to Ipswich Town under 18s going up against Real Madrid.
I enjoyed hearing the Head Chefs talk about their restaurants and their own leadership styles. Seeing the inside of high functioning kitchens and witnessing cutting edge cookery techniques, in itself would be a great show. But we already have Chefs Table on Netflix for that.
As the series went on, my respect for Mr Atherton went up even more. We donât share the same training values, but like I said, I have no awards to protect. I canât even pretend to understand what that pressure would be like. But my life feels relatively complete without that.
Adding competition and elimination to this concept seems misguided. With so many great cookery shows available to us, this is a real stretch. Maybe Iâm missing the point for this show. But if Iâm missing it, then surely other young potential chefs are missing it too. The noise of âleadershipâ and the pressure of Michelin are evident. Some of the passion and pride of being a chef is lost. The pressure of performance is overwhelming. There are a lot of established chefs who would struggle with this format. Maybe the next series, they should send a Brigade of TV chefs. Get Ainsley, James Martin, Nigella and Jamie Oliver in there. Lets see how those guys handle it?
Thatâs just my thoughts.
Watch the BBC series herehttps://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/m00077h7/the-chefs-brigade
Last night I was tasked with the assignment of teaching two young stars, a few dishes, before they head off to University. For this session, we made a classic tomato sauce. This is a very versatile dish to have in your repertoire. We made a coconut and vegetables curry. This, again, to showcase the adaptability of some ingredients. Slicing and chipping techniques and making omelettes, also made up part of the session. I had a load of fun and I feel that my two chefs did too.
This is just one of the services I can provide through my 121 classes. Time did not permit me to organise a group class, like I had wished. But I really hope I will have one ready for next summer.
If you are interested in a private session, drop me a message and let’s see if I can help.
more photos to follow.....
Hi, Welcome to my blog. I have been writing for a few years now. I like to think that I have improved slightly over that time.