My Stage was given to me for a week in the 2 Starred Michelin Kitchens at Gidleigh Park. (Staging is an unpaid internship when a cook or chef works briefly, for free, in another chef’s kitchen to learn and be exposed to new techniques and cuisines. The term originates from the French word stagiaire meaning trainee, apprentice or intern)
I promised a diary of my week working in the kitchens of 2 Michelin Star Gidleigh Park the home of Micheal Caines food history and what a week.
It all starts with the journey from Bolton to Devon, and to make it more interesting ( or just plain madness) our day commenced ……….
…………with a 5am wake up as The Husband undertook his commitment to a 70mile bike ride and 5 hours of road cycling as part of his Ironman training, I packed and got prepared in his short absence and we set off with a second challenge before we even left Bolton , we chose to take our new 10 week old puppy in tow on the mammoth 273 mile, 4.5hours journey just to add to the adventure.
The choice to drive was also to allow The Husband to visit his Sister in South Wales and his terminally ill Uncle so it worked out better for all and added a few more hours together before a week part ( yes we are that soft!)
My husband and I shared the driving ,I started so he could sleep and recuperate come his mammoth bike ride. The puppy who has been wonderful since the day we got him, behaved impeccably throughout the journey, stopping and doing his do, sleeping and being very relaxed and calm delightful pup that he is ( just for the record he is called Montgomery “Monty” Halls-Evans the First! Our first ever family pet ).
The drive into Gidleigh Park could be deemed confusing , the 1.5 miles of single car width lane lets you into its secluded, private and charming location, the beauty of trees creating a canopy to drive through, the neat hedges build your anticipation to the beauty that opens up to spy the house ( may I say the photos do not do it justice ) , its a beautiful black and white exterior , the warm welcome, bags taken, all aware of who I was and aware of my Stage in the kitchen which was a wonderful touch of making we feel very welcome.
The nerves grew as dog ,husband and I were allowed to wander the grounds and then rest up on the terrace for coffee and homemade biscuits. Met Sous Chef Mike Tweedie who really made me feel very welcome – a theme was happening here!
So Husband Set off to see his Uncle, farewells were given and sleeps started to be counted before I was heading home again. I had expected to be in the kitchen that evening but was duly informed to appreciate my surroundings, make myself feel at home and see me in the kitchen at 10am! Yay, a lie in as well, this was turning out to be too good to be true, and then I was taken to my room -WOW
so I did just that and got my self prepared for the next day.
Now what for dinner ? Well I went down to the reception area and met Sally who informed me I was eating in the staff canteen and showed me the way. I was left in the staff canteen with no one around and no dinner – it seems I had missed it completely as I found out staff meals are served 11am and 5pm ONLY and when its gone its gone. So I left and set off to find my room, which did take a while as I have no lateral awareness and wandered aimlessly for quite a while, discovering my room I decided best option was to distract any hunger pangs with a brew- ah slight problem there was no kettle in the room ( Day 2 I found out the reason why , there is a beautiful Guest Pantry Facilities on the next floor..) I had a bath, unpacked, mooched, read, watched TV and then finally slept
So roll on Day 2………….