It has been a busy few weeks, The last time I blogged was just before taking over my own section, nearly two weeks ago. Well the first few days were a bit hectic, no-one to show me around, no-one to tell what to put on each dish, but I used my skills and It gave me the long awaited boost to my confidence. After a few weeks I've got it down. Peeling potatoes and carrots, teaching my little apprentice about Confit de canard and Pommes Allumettes. It is really a big step forward and a nice chance to be away from some of the louder and more bulshy CDP's in the kitchen. Im enjoying it, settling down to the 70 hour weeks, crappy little room and little social life. Just simply having, a working holiday, the sun has been out sooo much that my tan is much better, those few precious hours that I do have off in the afternoons is a great chance to run down to the beach and enjoy a quick pint and catch a few rays.
My creativity is not yet being sparked, more often it is stifeld with a damp tea towl, often the suggestions I make to the chef are too complex or too far from his own experiences. It seems that I need to get to know the customers better, and have a better understanding of what they want to eat. Great more time for self improvement. So, I trundled on my day off, to London's top foodie destination, borough market, and on my walk around amongst the Japanese tourists, french school kids and office yummies grabbing a bite to eat. I asked myself why do people come here?? Is it to catch what a London market would have been like 100 years ago? - It seems as though it is a million miles away from real markets. Here, the products are all over priced and almost every stall is selling hamburgers, or fast food. It seems that everybody loves the prestige of going to borough market, its name stands for quality, yet on arrival the want to grab something to eat fast and get out, the burgers are great, good quality, but so overpriced, its all so MacDonald's!! MMM not really a foodie experiance. Can you believe what the brits eat?? A good meal has meat in it and is in between two slices of bread. Even when they are in a hotel on the isle of wight they seem to choose the strangest things. Last week we had a coach party in the hotel, they have a sit down meal every night with three or four choices for each course. On the main course they could choose from; Duck breast with schllott tarte tatin, roast carrots and carrot puree, Home braised ham hock with leeks and mash and mustard sauce or Fish and chips. And to our disbelief, 19 out of 26 chose fish and chips. It is all a little strange. I guess that is why you have to keep food simple.
I came up with lots of suggestions to help my chef with his children's menu. But when I mentioned some of the more wacky ideas I had had he was immediately not interested. We decided to keep it simple, mac and cheese, mini pizzas and plates of melon or fruit segments. Baby-cinos, sweet potato chips and the words organic or low calorie were left out, apparently the hotels clientele are not interested, the prefer more simple things. So what happens to these clients that can afford a £200 ++++ per night stay in a hotel?? do they not come from london? or do they change on there way down? The moment the get to the isle of wight they arnt worried about what they are eating, they are more interested in living the simple IOW experiance?? eating all there food with mash and veg?? and paying £19 for fish and chips??
It seems that the elusive chef client relationship, is something that takes time to develop. And is it the client that goes to the chef or the chef that has to go to his clientelle?? Im still asking myself the question is the IOW the right place to be... seems that cooking is deffinately the right thing to be doing. I rock the pots and rock the party!!