For those of you who don’t know me, I am Saoirse Mooney. I had never intended on doing my work placement in Northern Ireland and to be honest I made of mockery of it. I first moved to Berlin with all the penny’s that I had saved and a suitcase full of dreams. Unfortunately, those dreams were crushed by a male-dominated culinary industry but hey at least they were replaced by some cool clothes. I still believe that Berlin would be a fantastic place to live as it is so full of culture and history. I lasted 5 weeks hostel hopping as I searched high and low for a job but unfortunately I just couldn’t get my foot in the door as I only had basic German and any well-respected establishments were all full of (handsome) men in their 30’s +. I feel I would have been a lot more successful had I not had to comply with certain standards however this semester abroad is to lean and not to work in a kebab house. I had some contacts in Berlin and had been offered a job doing catering for Rolling Stones magazine however it was only part-time and insecure so it would not comply with my mandatory hours needed. I immersed myself in the Berlin culture whilst I was there, drinking beers at lakes, returning my bottles for that tasty 25 cents deposit and really learning the history of Berlin. However, that had to come to an end and plan B had to come to play.
So began my journey to the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa. As some of you may know two of my classmates, Aine and Robert were already working at the hotel so getting a job here was very easy. A simple email to the HR manager and I had secured a job starting on the 26th of July, this being insanely different to my various rejections in Berlin. I moved into a room with my fellow classmate and friend Aine Lyng. We are cohabitating extremely well for any of ye that would like to know. The head chef Hazel Magill is an inspiration, kind but takes no shit, well organized and extremely helpful. As being a late entry to the game I have been trained into all areas of the restaurant, functions, starters, mains and even pastry (which I dreaded but now I kinda love it). I also do shifts in the smaller tapas restaurant, the Lighthouse. In this kitchen, you work alone so when its busy its really busy which I love but when its quiet it is crazy boring, so this is when I wonder up to the Oak kitchen and give them a helping hand. I have enjoyed learning the function work. The organisations that go into delivering food for weddings of 200+ guests is insane and is a skill that I hope to use in all my future jobs. We also get to work with some great local produce and I’m really learning the importance of sustainability and striving to have little to no waste. Working in a hotel can be stressful and tedious however and as Tom stated in his blog I too feel that I would never choose to work in a hotel again.
Now on to the interesting part, life in Newcastle NI and not upon Tyne. Newcastle is a small seaside village with some nice restaurants and pubs. The public house we most frequent is Quinn’s Spirit Grocer which is always a fun spot and sometimes we even venture down to the Anchor. Other than that Newcastle is a little boring so I am delighted to be sharing this experience with Aine and Robert as they have made it so much more enjoyable even if it’s just all of us hanging out in bed with face masks on. I tend to spend most of my days off traveling to Belfast which is only an hour’s bus ride away. Belfast has a lot to offer from shops to markets.
That’s all, for now, Thanks for reading my rambles and ill check in again soon.
P.S. I got here on a bus.