It has been some time since I last updated you on my placement here in BABA. I am over 300 hours in, and I have really enjoyed my time thus far. Even though I don’t want to be a chef, I have loved learning about this different cuisine. The work is quite hard, I won’t lie. We are constantly trying to be ahead of ourselves as an organised kitchen should be! There are two kitchens, the service kitchen, and the prep kitchen. There is usually 1-2 people on prep for the 5 different sections of BABA every day. Then there are four chefs who complete service during the day through the night. There are two services a day, lunch, and dinner. Lunch is usually quieter and then dinner can range between 100-200 a night, it varies every day.
different sections are, Mezze, Grill 1, Grill 2, The Pass and Pastry.
I started off on Grill 2. This is focusing on the snacks, sides and all the fish. Some of the dishes are as follows;
· - haggis merguez and yemenite hot sauce
· - cauliflower fritters, zhug and crème fraiche
· -yoghurt-marinated whole grilled sea bream, verbena harissa, fennel and orange shredded salad
· -cod, charcoal-grilled celeriac, burnt butter, brown shrimps, almonds and barberries
· -grilled monkfish, za’atar-fried potatoes, red pepper ketchup and feta
· -marinated artichokes, falafel, beetroot hummus and guindillas
I then got
moved to the Mezze section which I learned loads again! This section I eventually
ran on my own as the other chef I was on left. There was a lot more on my plate,
but I was pushed to become a better chef than I started out as. From hanging yoghurt
to create labneh, butchering Venison, making loads of pickles and brining lots
of meats and sous-viding.
Here are some of the dishes within the Mezze section;
· -hummus, zhug, pine nuts and lemon
· -hummus, crispy lamb shawarma, zhug, pine nuts and lemon
· -whipped smoked mackerel, sweet and sour cucumber, crispy shallots, and dill
· -BABA ghanoush, pomegranate and mint
· -labneh, muhammara and walnuts
· -burrata, zhug, pickled chillies and herbs
· -cured salmon, pomegranate, avocado, and crème fraîche
· -venison and Urfa pepper carpaccio, celeriac, horseradish, and hazelnuts
With the Pastry section all of the chefs take care of that, if you are low on something and you notice- then you do it. Here are the dishes in pastry;
· -dark chocolate and tahini crémeux, cherries and crème fraîche
· -yoghurt panna cotta, candied cumin, black fig and honey
· -olive oil sponge, yoghurt, and pomegranate
What I really love about BABA is how they make everything from scratch. You can really tell the chefs here take such pride in their work. I also like how there are no egos, in some kitchens that I have been in, the commis mostly do the annoying little jobs- whereas here everyone does every job no matter what section you’re on. It’s a nice environment to learn and grow as a chef and they really want you to get the most out of the experience. They’re honest too- they let you know when you are doing good and when you need to pick it up.
I am almost finished my time in BABA and will be moving onto my next journey soon- but for now I’ll be back with one more post!