Oliver Dovey – Finalist Prize Diary – Part #2 – Les Sources de Caudalie

Posted on November 24, 2017

WEEK 2

Chef Stagiaire Award 2017 – Diary of my trip to Les Sources de Caudalie, Bordeaux

Day 1

caviarToday was my first day in the 2 Michelin star kitchen! I have to say I was a bit daunted, but from what I saw last week I thought I could hold my own in there. I was put on the garnish section with Lawrence. I helped him with general preparation including their vegetarian tart which consisted of thinly sliced courgette and tomato arranged in a flower fashion. It was a time consuming process but a really beautiful look on the final dish. The service was very hard, even though they did not have a high number of customers, it was still a new menu to me, and again obviously, everyone was speaking French, but I was getting better at understanding and translating everything into my tasks.

Day 2

Today I was working on the garnish section again. The chef started to develop a new dish for the menu which included a duxelle made entirely from Cep mushrooms. Being from England I have not seen thistartar many Ceps in one place as they are so expensive!! I made a ravioli with this duxelle, with a lovely Chicken jus inside so when it was cut open the liquid oozed out. The service was a lot better today as I managed to link a lot of words with words that I learnt while I was working in Greece. A lot of the names of the courses were very similar in Greek as in French so as soon as I picked that up I found the service a lot easier and smoother.

Day 3

Today I work on the larder section, preparing Lobsters and making their green Tomato granite. I also prepared a few Crabs and the Canapes. I helped prepare the stuffed Courgette flowers which were filled with a Langoustine mousse which was deliciously smooth. During the service I was working on the Canape section, serving Oysters with a cucumber foam and Oyster leaf, a brown cap mushroom filled with Ceps and covered in a Parmesan crust which was then lightly grilled. The second round of Canapes that the guests enjoyed was a Beef tartar which was smoked and sent to the table in a glass dome for theatrical effect, which really worked.

Day 4

Larder again today. I felt a lot more confidence now. I was doing similar preparation as the day before.ARTICHOKES Today I also helped prepare their angry egg dish which was a soft boiled duck egg which was then pannéd using thinly cut filo pastry so when it was fried it came up and gave an amazing visual aspect. I also stuffing their baby Artichokes which was another Canape. It was a very time consuming job because turning and cooking the artichokes took a while. Then the centre had to be scooped out, filled with crushed artichokes and then pannéd using green bread crumbs [speak to a chef about how to make green bread crumbs!!]. During service I was moving between the garnish section and the Canapes, helping cook the egg and artichoke dish.

Day 5

Today a new dish came onto the menu which included Venison and the Cep pasta. I helped make the Ravioli for the lunch and dinner service. I was doing general jobs for all sections today. I made some more tarts, prepared the Leeks for the Turbot dish, sources de caudalieI prepared a lot of shellfish. During the service I was helping every section, moving everywhere. It felt so smooth and I could feel a massive improvement in myself firstly for understanding the language and also for reading the situation and knowing which dishes were up next on the list of priorities. I was very sad to leave because I thoroughly enjoyed my whole experience here. It is a memory that I will genuinely cherish. I was invited to go back and work whenever I want which I have every intention to take up whenever possible.

It was an amazing learning experience, I loved the creativity and overall the kitchens here are a perfect working environment. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all at Les Sources de Caudalie.

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