Waking early again with the beautiful view from my room still darkened by the lack of morning light and rather than loiter in my room, dressed in my Chef Whites and hoping I could find a clean apron to borrow I headed down “the back stairs” past the guest pantry – not before making myself a Nespresso coffee in the spotty Emma Bridgwater Mugs for my morning caffeine hit. It was Pastry day today so I was eager to get started and upgrade my baking skills.
Got into the kitchen and it was Commis Chef Jacob on Breaksfast Chef duty and of course Chef Andy who rises before the lark everyday to make the fresh breads of french origin as of Chef’s early days in France and his training that is now transferred to the daily menu , buttery folds of croissants, gooey pain au chocolates all ready for the currently sleeping guests.
Heading into the main kitchen I’m enlightened by Commis Jacob on the freshly whisked hollandaise sauce which is made Gidleigh way by adding a flavoured and infused vinegar thats bubbling away on the large stove.
Chef Ludo would be delighted he taught us the importance of depth in taste and flavour , the french way and its one that I use daily. I call it 3D flavour and not the 1 dimensional making the most of the ingredients you have.
The kitchen in the morning is a wonderful place , quieter but still that gentle hum of activity, slowly the kitchen started filling with the chefs and the day began all over again, preparing, for the next service with Breakfast operating and being served without fuss or the noise of lunch or evening service, just happening. The kitchen doesn’t just provide the lunch and evening service its provision of supper, snacks, afternoon teas, hampers and picnics, means its only sleeping for 4 hours a day!
Chef De Partie Patisserie Amy had arrived and it was time to do desserts, although the section also does canapés, breads, petit fours and all desserts so I was looking forward to extending my baking skills and acquiring some recipes too.
Amy was truly great showing me how to do all the dessert, their components, and plating we spent the day preparing and me getting involved in all the process and aiding with canapé and bread.
The minute by minute process of getting the bread warm for serving to the guests, when Front Of House team call the bread away from checks its 4 minutes to warm the freshly made bread , now this sounds simple and I seemed very competent at making it difficult, took me a few checks before I actually got it! In the process i got myself a nasty burn from the very hot metal bread tray and was nursing my hand with ice cubes for an hour or so!
I learnt the guaranteed process for the perfect souffle, the plating of the caramel ( need to get the central part of the plate- again I seemed to make this initially very difficult),
I made moussueline, Milk chocolate parfait and how to make it into different flavours including cherry, a basic stock syrup, creme patisserie the basis for so many delicious desserts, spiced caramel, flavoured foams , different flavour jellies it was a busy and amazing day of learning and really understanding desserts Amy was a great teacher
- Souffle brushing of the ramekin with butter twice – chilling inbetween and brushing upwards only to make sure the movement of the souffle is upwards, also you can decorate the rising souffle by decorating the dish in stripes etc as the batter rises.
- Mousse with Jelly toppings, line the mould with cling film, fill with mousse, chill then when ready for the jelly topping push the mousse upwards from the bottom and allow to drop down again this creates a small well that you can pour the jelly on and it creates a beautiful natural doming of the jelly topping
- Never stir the caramel , shake the pan
- Weigh everything out, using the pan also helps and reduces the washing up
- Make Creme Pat in volume and freeze into smaller quantities as this means you always have the basis for a quick dessert
I learnt so much what an amazing day and now day 4 was coming to end and my final day was soon upon me, how fast this adventure had gone. was seeing Chef tomorrow so after service retired to my room ready for the finale…..