A large part of my job is to teach, train and pass on knowledge to my chefs in my brigade. Throughout my career I have been very fortunate to work for some incredible chefs who have invested lots of time, energy and effort in me and taught me my craft and the skills I have to this day.
Since I have been a head chef, it has been my turn to be the one to mentor my young chefs. These are the chefs who are keen, willing, hungry and eager to learn. In exchange for their hard work, loyalty, commitment and the correct attitude I give them training, knowledge, experience, skills and recipes. It's a two way thing that benefits both parties. Nothing gives me more pleasure and satisfaction than to see a chef enter my kitchen at a certain level and leave at a higher level. When they leave it is a great feeling knowing I've helped them on their way and been an important part of their journey. Over the years I've had some great young chefs pass through my kitchen who have gone on to do brilliant things in their own careers including earning their own Michelin stars or heading up tough kitchens in London.
The above is all part and parcel of a day at work in my kitchen at Coast. The next level of this is for me to get out of my kitchen and teach and motivate the chefs of tomorrow. The chefs who hopefully in a few years will be the ones knocking on my kitchen door seeking employment. By this I'm talking about students still in education, either at school or at catering college. Over the years I have worked with many schools and colleges inspiring the chefs of tomorrow. This has been in many different ways including hosting sessions at after school cooking clubs, workshops, opening cookery departments, motivational talks, end of year certificate presentations, cooking demonstrations, hands on classes, demonstrate and recreate sessions, guest chef dinner events and providing work experiences for students.
Recently I have been working with Coleg Sir Gar, Carmarthen as part of our Seren Academy. So far I have invited all the students to Coast for a behind the scenes tour and lunch, I have had students on day release and work experiences, I have hosted demonstration and recreate sessions at the college and I have cooked a dinner alongside the Welsh Culinary Association at the college. Last week it was my guest chef dinner at Coleg Sir Gar and I presented a 5 course 'Taste of Coast' tasting menu and prepared everything from scratch with the students. We served the menu to 65 paying guests. It was something completely different for the students to have a guest chef come into their college and bring with them a different way of working and a different style of cooking.
Here is the menu we served -
Leek and potato soup, truffle cream
Salmon tartar, beetroot, horseradish relish
Confit chicken thigh, forest mushrooms, celeriac
Grilled bream fillet, tomato couscous, roasted peppers, Harissa dressing
Dark chocolate ganache, parsnip and banana cake, banoffee sauce
I had no doubt the students would rise to the occasion and deliver the dinner to my standard and do me proud. We all had a lot of fun and it was a great success.