A Day in the Life of a Chef de Partie
Hi there and welcome back to the Food & Wine blog.
For a bit of fun this month I thought I would pass you over to one of my Chef de Partie to give you a bit of an insight into the working day of a chef at the Old Course Hotel! The term Chef de Partie comes from the old French brigade system, run in all the classic French kitchens, “partie” means section, so it basically means “chef of the section”.
I currently run my kitchen with 4 Chefs de Partie and 1 Commis (our apprentice chef), I really rely on these men and women to work to my recipes and exact standards. We have a small but closely formed team who all work together to produce a fantastic dining experience for our guests. Today I’m going to pass you over to Paddy Boyd: Paddy has been with the Hotel for two and half years and in that time we’ve worked with Paddy to teach him the ways of a 3 AA Rosette restaurant. As you know, I’m really keen to help young chefs develop and I really believe that one day Paddy will make a cracking Head Chef!
Hi, my name is Paddy Boyd and I am a Chef de Partie in the Road Hole Restaurant at the Old Course Hotel. My working day usually starts at 9am and finishes around 11pm, it is a hard shift but I love what I do! Last Saturday I kept a log of my shift-
Today, just like everyday we are in the kitchen for 8.55am in full uniform with our knives out. I wouldn’t think of being late as it is not worth upsetting Chef Ross this early in morning! For the first hour of my day we gather our supplies, put away the deliveries and set up the work stations. The tea and coffee making responsibilities are passed on day to day but thankfully today is not my day to get the coffees for the team!
By 10.30am the kitchen is alive, buzzing with excitement as we have just had the news that we are fully booked and have a small private function in the Boardroom. It’s a real thrill to know we’ll have a busy restaurant ahead of us tonight! At any one time there are 4 or 5 pans working on my section, stocks reducing, sauces thickening, shallots sweating and meat browning. It is a lot to keep track of but I know I have great support around me.
12pm we stop for 15mins. Chef Ross goes through today’s menus and specials, explaining how we are to set up for service and letting us know if there are any specific dietary requirements. At 12.15 on the dot we are back in the kitchen to get through a mountain of prep.
The next five hours are pretty much non stop, today I have 3 whole salmon, a halibut, 4 beef fillets and 10 racks of lambs to trim; the key to this is to keep your work station clean and tidy and stay focused. By the time I’m finished it’s almost time for staff dinner.
5.30pm Chef Ross has made the team dinner, we sit down for half an hour together. Today he has made us his yummy pasta carbonara! The team dinner is important for us as it gives us all time to talk and discuss the night ahead.
6.00pm Service begins…we’re on! Ross is in control of the kitchen, reading out the dishes our guests have ordered and giving us our instructions- we are under pressure but nobody loses their cool. By 8pm the kitchen is in full swing, Ross’ eyes are everywhere keeping track of us all so I’m totally focused on cooking the meat and fish to his standards.
10.35pm Service is over, time to clean down and get home. It’s been a long day but as the restaurant is closed on Sunday I know that I’ll get a lie in tomorrow morning!
11pm Time for a quick stop at our local pub in town with the team to debrief and chill out after a busy day. In the words of Gordon Ramsay…done!
Hi Ross here again, since the guys seem to love my team dinners I thought I would share the recipe for my famous pasta carbonara. It’s really quick and simple but above all it’s super tasty!
Carbonara – serves 4 people
Garlic 4 cloves
Cooked ham hock 300g
White wine 150ml
Ham stock 300ml
Parsley, chopped 10g
Linguine ½ a packet
Egg yolk 50ml
Start by sweating the garlic and shallots with a little butter in a sauce pan with a heavy base, then add the ham hock along with the white wine and allow to reduce. Add the ham stock and reduce by half, follow by adding the cream and reduce by half again.
In a separate pan, cook the linguine in boiling salted water. Once cooked to your liking strain off and add to the sauce along with the parsley. Just before serving stir in the raw egg yolk.
Tip: The key to this recipe is to add the egg yolk just before serving, if you add the yolk too early and continue to cook it, the sauce will become stodgy. Don’t worry about adding in the yolk at the last minute, the heat of the pasta will cook it through.
If you have any questions about my recipe of if you would like any more information on the Road Hole Restaurant then please do get in touch. And remember, if you are visiting the restaurant and you would like to chat then do let your waiter know. I’d love to come out for some foodie chat!
Posted: October 13th, 2011 under Recipes.