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


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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Final Day – Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms

Its all over! Harvey and Oliver have cooked their respective dishes and it seems they were both well satisfied with the results. Lots of positive feedback from 2 Michelin star holder Sat Bains, Head Chef John Freeman and the team at Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms. ‘It’ll probably go down as one of the most nerve-wracking moments in my career’ they both agreed, but they stepped up, fought the pressure and completed their dishes with perfection and professionalism. There is very little to tell the guys apart, but now we await the final judgement from Sat Bains and John Freeman to see which one of them is off on the culinary adventure of a lifetime to Les Sources de Caudalie in France [2 Michelin also] and Six Senses Zil Pasyon in the Seychelles!

Oliver was working across all the section on the final day, but finished up in the Nucleus, with Sous Chef Leon, where he was able to get the customers feedback on the dish they had been working on. This was hugely satisfying to see the results of all of that hard work and effort the previous day. In his opinion he was able to work with more speed and skill having learnt the different elements throughout the week, so both Finalists felt they were able to genuinely support the team for this incredibly busy Saturday service.

Harvey was back in the main kitchen and continued to soak up everything he saw, heard and learnt. Harvey said he will  cherish these memories for the rest of his career and he hopes he can utilise some of the techniques and methods hes picked up when he gets back to Hampton Manor next week.

Please give us a few days to go through the results with the team at Restaurant Sat Bains, then we will announce the overall Winner!

At this point all of us at Chef Stagiaire would like to give an absolutely massive thanks to every single person who supported Chef Stagiaire 2017; all the entrants, all the Chef Patrons, Chef Proprietors, Head Chefs, Sous Chefs, CDP’s, Demi’s, Conmmis’, KP’s and all of the Front of House staff that welcomed our Finalists at every stage of the competition. Without all of you supporting and giving your time and opinion this simply would not be possible. THANK YOU!

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