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.

Winner – Louise Roberts – Profile

Louise Roberts

Chef Stagiaire 2015 – Winner

Louise left school in 2010 to pursue an NVQ Level 1 in Professional Cookery at her local Catering College in Romford, Essex.

On completion of the course, Louise joined the Springboard Summer School Program where she spent 2 informative and interesting weeks at the 5* luxury Hyatt Regency Churchill Hotel in Marble Arch.

Following that Louise was lucky enough to be accepted onto an Apprenticeship scheme with Lexington Catering, where her first assignment was at the University of West London.

Lexington encourage their Apprentices to work through multiple client sites to enable them to learn a wide variety of techniques and styles, ensuring they get a complete formal catering education, setting them up for the future in the best way possible. As such Louise worked at clients such as Coca Cola Head Office, Mann Group and Knight Frank, Baker Street, among others.

Louise continues to thoroughly enjoy her job at Lexington, having served for 4 years now. Louise was proud to complete her apprenticeship last year and is now regarded as a fully-fledged and dedicated member of the Lexington team.

We expect this list to grow over the next few years [!], but so far Louise has achieved the following:

Apprentice of the Year – Craft Guild of Chefs 2014

Craft Guild of Chefs – Finalist twice in the Graduate Award

Gold Best In Class, Silver Best In Class, Bronze Best In Class at Hotelympia and The Hospitality Show

NVQ level 2 & 3 in Professional Cookery

Royal Academy Of Culinary Arts – graduated with Distinction 2014

Royal Acadmey of Culinary Arts – Scholar of the Year 2014

Apprentice of the year 2012 & 2013 – Lexington Catering

Apprentice of the year for London Loves Business  2014

As well as being an enthusiastic and lively member of her Lexington team at work, Louise also finds time to help her Mother and Brother care for her Grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s, in her home town of Romford, Essex.

We wish Louise all the very best for her career and hope she thoroughly enjoys her prize trip to work with Head Chef Claude le-Tohic of 3 Michelin star Joel Robuchon, MGM Grand, Las Vegas and then onto the amazing Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman to work under Executive Head Chef Richard Lee and his team.

Incredibly well done Louise. Thank you for your hard work.