Food is everything to me. I fell in love with cooking when I started to cook through Martha Stewart’s Cooking School Cook Book. While I never did make it through the book, nowhere near in fact, I did learn how to truss a chicken, make pastry for beautiful biscuits, make stock from scratch and caramelise onions. Somewhere in between doughy cheese and chive biscuits and the sweet aroma of caramelised onions I fell head over heels.
That was some time ago. Since then I’ve sought the most beautiful ingredients and played with all kinds of cuisine, making everything from Amatriciana sauce to candied kumquat jam.
Through all this cooking I still wasn’t satisfied. I needed to know more. I wanted to learn everything. So I applied for chef apprenticeships across Melbourne. I was lucky enough to be interviewed and offered a job.
I worked in a cozy pub kitchen for about a month and learnt so much. I learnt how to peel potatoes fast without slicing my fingernails off. I learnt that there is always something to do in the kitchen – if you don’t know what to do ask someone, or clean. I learnt how to tell the difference between coriander (cilantro) and parsley – our produce guy left the roots on the coriander (clever). I was adjusting to the long hours and the time on my feet. I was getting to know all of the kitchen crew. Things were going well.
But during that month, opportunity knocked. When I first applied for all the apprenticeships I could find, I had applied for an apprenticeship at Crown in the centre of Melbourne. At the time I was offered the apprenticeship at the pub, I hadn’t heard from Crown and assumed they had placed me in the ‘no’ pile of applicants. I was okay with that because I had decided I would apply again the next year, once I had more experience.
But then I got a call. They offered me the job. The Crown apprenticeship is a very special opportunity to work under world-class chefs across a range of world-class restaurants. Gordon Ramsey says to work with the best chefs you can. Who was I to question Ramsey? So I accepted the offer.
I handed in my resignation at the pub with mixed feelings. I felt bad for leaving and appreciated all the help I had been given. But I am so excited for the next chapter. I start at Crown in two weeks, and it’s two weeks too far in my opinion.
The work will be tough, the hours long and the risk of injury high. But I’ll do it for the love of food.
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