Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Believe in the Slieve

Believe in the Slieve

Here I am once again writing about my journey at the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa. This time I am finding it quite difficult to figure out how to start off so Ill just dive straight into the work.

I have been trained in all areas of the kitchen which means it’s not too uncommon that I don’t know where I’ll be when I rock into work.  I tend to do a lot of shifts in the Lighthouse Lounge now that its main chef is away. This is a kitchen where you work alone. During the day it is simple foods like sandwiches soups and pasta's, easy comfort food for the soul. Each day you get to put on a special which depending on how busy it was the previous day can be really fun or a nightmare. Working alone in a kitchen however is not ideal as I feel you need someone to bounce off of in a kitchen especially when it's busy and stressful. Thankfully all the front of house in the Lighthouse are sound and fun to work with otherwise you would probably be driven demented (well me personally as I crave human contact). It is however enjoyable running your own kitchen even if you’re the only one that works it. After 6 it turns in to a Tapas menu which is easy and quick to knock up.

If I am not working the Lighthouse I am either on starters or thrown on to mains with either Iowana (who makes the nicest hotpot you will ever taste) or Donavan. I do enjoy both of these sections a great deal more than the lighthouse solely because of the company and feeling of comradery. I also feel I learn a great deal more in these sections as it is a fine dining restaurant and each dish must be presented as such.

I also fill in for Robert and Kat on pastry whenever I’m needed which is always nerve-racking but exciting as this is by far the busiest section in the kitchen. I never thought I’d say it but I kind of love pastry. I have learned so much from Robert and Kat with regards to pastry that I will forever remember and for that I am grateful. Robert has a great eye for presentation and has helped me become better even if it was just through competitiveness and Kats skills for bashing this out amazes me and they are always done to a high standard.

Lastly, we can’t forget about functions. The Slieve Donard is renowned for its functions. Last month we catered for the hospitality awards which was a function for 430 guests. This was funner than you’d expect, having all hands on deck in the Ansley room plating up what felt like a million trios of starters or poor Robert writing chocolate on all those plates for Chocolate domes. I believe it was the sense of accomplishment that made it all worthwhile. Now that we have managed to make it to November it has thankfully calmed down (a bit) and we generally only do a couple of functions a week. Working up here is crazy you do and an average of 40 hours a week but this can easily be bumped up by an extra day here and there or staying on late to help out. Saying that though I love it and wouldn’t change it for the world. Thank god Germany didn’t work out because I honestly don’t think I would be learning and doing half as much as I am here.

Okay, now that the business part is over we can discuss the people of the Slieve Donard. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for the amazing people working in the Slieve my time here would not be half as good. I truly feel like I have made some great friends here that I will actually miss when I leave. I  have to give an honorable mention to my husband to be Eugene Rooney, one of the wedding coordinators here who is not only good at his job but also a pleasure to be around. Unfortunately, I cannot possibly list all the names of the people that I love because this blog would go on for far too long and I have already rambled enough. We have also lost quite a few members of our team since I have started here which is just the nature of the hospitality business but it does tend to affect staff moral such as when Ray left the bar for bigger and brighter things. Such is life I suppose. The hospitality industry has always been a mixing pot for different cultures, we work with many Spanish people and I also live with a couple of polish people so now I can successfully curse in 4 different languages if that’s not a win I don’t know what is.

 Lastly, I would like to discuss the beautiful scenery of Newcastle Co. Down where the Mournes meet the sea. It is honestly so picturesque up here and living in the staff house here means that the beach is my back garden and the mountains are only a quick stroll away. My favorite thing to do here (other than Quinn’s) is to go to the beach be it morning, noon or night. There’s something about having the sand between my toes that just relieves any stress that was ever built up inside me. Myself and Robert also managed to get a day off together, which is extremely rare so we packed a picnic and headed off up the mountains in our skinny jeans and doc’s. we didn’t manage to make it up the top due to extreme winds but we did get half way up to Narnia, played with some sheep, explored an old ice hut and had a picnic at a waterfall so in my eyes that was a perfect trip to the mountains.

I believe that is all for now, thank you for reading my rambles and hey if you only skimmed it I don’t blame you. Farewell, auf wiedersehne, do widzenia, adios agus slan, Saoirse.

P.S Sorry for my terrible photo placement I am not great with technology. Believe in the Slieve, peace out.

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