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

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.

Harvey Perttola – Diary of 2017 Final at Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms

Harvey Perttola

Diary of the 2017 Final experience at Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms

Day 1

Arrived at 8:30 and was greeted warmly by Head Chef John Freeman. He took me into the kitchen and introduced me to everyone and I was shown around by one of the brigade. I also met Sat Bains which I was really a highlight. I was made to feel at ease.

I was put on the garnish section for the day with a chef called Phil from Dublin. I did jobs for him throughout the day these were cauliflower florets, picked melon, kale crisps, kale puree, smoked squash puree, and other bits and bobs like vac packing etc… I felt like i performed well and did everything that was asked of me.

During service I was helping send starters from larder 1 and larder 2 sections. I was helping plate up the dishes like the Chicken Liver Nitro Meusli and roasted Potato dish. I was amazed by how flavour driven the dishes were, yes they looked good but without the foundations of good produce and maximum flavour there would be no soul.

Plating up

Finishing touches – Head Chef John Freeman

During service chef Sat Bains asked me about Hampton manor, the food style and the ethos etc… i was happy he was interested and it got me thinking about the things i could take from here and implement back at the Manor for example the garden is rife with fresh herbs from the glasshouse, literally from garden to plate, snipped to order. Fresh as! I tried a few things to, i had some coal mayonnaise which just blew my mind and just had to get the recipe, it was epic.. Ill definitely be using that sometime. I really enjoyed my first day.

Day 2

My second day was as enjoyable and more immersive as the first day. I was in the prep kitchen with chef Paulo formally of the Waterside Inn, Bray. It was good to see the backbone to what gets served up i.e seeing the sauces being made with such care and attention. The way the Pigeon was handled was first class, just pure respect for the produce.

I did jobs throughout the day these where cracking grouse bones for sauce, flaking down confit pigeon legs, dicing beef for tartare, flaking down confit hare legs, separating the thigh meat from the bone of grouse legs, and other elements.

During service I was in the Pastry section and it was awesome. I got to try loads of elements and even whole dishes. I was blown away yet again this time by the Milk dessert. It was stunning, packed a punch but as you ate it, you finished off with a clean palate from the milk ice cream. Superbly balanced. Also the chocolate just blew my taste buds out of the water. It had a 12 year aged balsamic vinegar that was so intense and so aged it almost had a brandy taste to it, deep and delicious. I helped out plating up throughout the night and felt like i was part of the team. Roll on tomorrow!

Day 3

Today i helped Phil on the Garnish. I made kale puree, kale crisps and shelled broad beans. Also i made carrot puree. In the evening i was in the development kitchen known as Nucleus. This is where they do a menu with things that are being experimented with. It was epic; we did a table of four and we served and cooked the food. It is a real immersive experience and you get to have a lot of conversation with the guests who were amazed and wanted to know more about the product and the whole process. It was really nice to see that kind of interaction. It was also great to see all the different experiments that were going on with the flavour combinations. Even though it is a development kitchen where the dishes are tested and trialled, it still managed to have that focus and edge, the same as you’d have if you where dining in the restaurant. Brilliant.

Day 4

I helped out in the main kitchen and cooked my dish. I was pleased with my dish, everything was tasty and the feedback was positive. My fingers are crossed to see what happens, hopefully I’ve done enough, not just with the dish, but overall throughout the week. I have gained a lot of new techniques and methods and it was amazing to see such a high standard. These memories will be with me for the rest of my career and will help me develop into the best chef I can be.

Day 3 – Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms

Penultimate day at Restaurant Sat Bains with rooms, and the Finalists are really feeling like part of the team now! The guys have been plating up Beef Tartar, producing the Milk Crisps for the dessert and of course the nitty gritty of shelling Broad Beans and making the Carrot and also Kale Purees!

cooling down at RSB with Rooms

cooling down at RSB with Rooms

Oliver spent the morning in the Pastry kitchen, and was entrusted to prepare the entire Chocolate dessert from start to finish, which was a great honour for him. His stand out moment today was the Thai Green Curry with Candy Floss, which he concluded is ‘an exceptional dish which balanced all 5 flavours to perfection’. He assisted with a brand new dish today, which was very exciting to be a part of, but he was awed by the skill and focus that goes into each of these new creations.

Harvey was seconded into the Nucleus Restaurant, where guests are encouraged to give their feedback

Chef John Freeman

Chef John Freeman

on Chefs new dishes. Harvey said ‘It was epic; we did a table of four and it is a really immersive experience, you get to have a lot of interaction with the guests and they were amazed and interested about the whole process’.

Good luck with your Final pieces gents; Saturday is going be a lot of pressure for you both but hopefully a day where you can really shine and show Sat Bains and John Freeman your own creative style and passion.

Day 2 – Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms

Harvey and Oliver are really getting into the flow now, with both of them fully involved in the days service and they are both loving every single minute of it!

Oliver spent the day in the hot kitchen today, where he took great pleasure in using the wood fired oven to roast fresh potatoes, as well as getting his turn with the Chicken Liver Meusli and Veal Sweetbreads, a personal favourite for Oliver.

Harvey learnt how much love and attention goes into the final dishes; prepping Grouse bones for

Dessert - Final 2017

Dessert – Final 2017

the stocks, prepping the Pigeon and flaking down confit Hare legs among other exciting elements. The Milk Dessert was ‘stunning’ and a real highlight of the day for Harvey.

Both the Finalists have been actively encouraged to try all of the food they are producing, to analyse and give their feedback on the incredible 2 Michelin Star dishes, and this has been an absolute treat for them both. The guys are just soaking up everything they see and learn and they’ll certainly remember these lessons for the rest of their respective careers.