Monday, 28 February 2022



Hi everyone!

Just an update,

I am now in Edinburgh working in the Kimpton George Charlotte Hotel. I am not working in the hotel perse, more so the BABA Restaurant. It is a Lebanese inspired restaurant. My placement was secured just at the end of November, so it was a relief relaxing over Christmas. Then the move began near the end of January. I was fortunate as I have a car, so I took the Ferry over with my car! If future students can do this, I’d really recommend it as it was nice not having to figure out public transport again like in the Netherlands!

Before I started work, I had an induction day. This went on from 10-5. It consisted of learning of the history of the hotel, its current and future endeavours. We also had lunch provided to us which was from the baba restaurant. Once the induction was over, we had to complete online ELearning. Then we finally started. I am a commis chef in BABA, hence I am running the Mezze section. I am really enjoying it thus far as I have learned loads already. Learning a different cuisine is really enlightening as before I thought I knew a lot about food, mainly the cuisine I was used to- so it draws you out of your comfort zone learning about new ingredients every day.

The chefs are all very kind, the vibes are chill as it is a no shouting kitchen which is greatly appreciated! It’s a great learning environment but hard work at the same time. They push you to get the best out of you. Most days the shifts are 13 hours. Some days when its busy it can be pushed to 14/15. More than what I was used to at Ireland but their work week is what makes it worth it. You work hard for 3 and a half days then you’re off for 3 and a half days. Right now, I am doing about 50 hours in 3 and a half days. The few shifts I have had so far have been busy as Valentine’s Day and the Scotland team were staying with us all near each other. My first shift was Valentine’s Day, so I was definitely thrown in the deep end, but I learned loads about myself being put into that situation. The only downside I can see so far is that I am on a salary. So, it’s a bit more difficult to budget but its also a good way of saving.

Bar work, I love Edinburgh! IT is so Scenic, and everyone is lovely. The food scene is amazing too and there’s so much more to do in Edinburgh than Ireland for young people.


That’s all for now!


Welcome to the Slieve Donard Hotel


Hello everyone!

My name is Eimear Dooley and I am writing from Newcastle in Northern Ireland where I am doing my work placement in the Slieve Donard Hotel. On the first day I moved here, I couldn’t believe that I was going to be working in this magnificent hotel, located right on the beach and with the Mourne Mountains surrounding it. My first impression of the hotel was very positive and welcoming as I settled into my own room in the hotel. For the first two days, I explored the town of Newcastle before starting my work placement on the Monday. I was nervous starting work in a new work environment but when I walked into the kitchens that morning, everyone was so welcoming and kind and I knew I would have no problem settling in here.

In 1972, the Hastings group purchased the Slieve Donard hotel and this year, AJ Capital Partners acquired the hotel, which will become the first Marine & Lawn Hotels property in Northern Ireland and the fourth hotel in the property. The future for this hotel looks very promising with many new exciting opportunities to take place.

This Victorian hotel has many amenities available for every guest to avail of. The spa at the Slieve Donard overlooks the beach and the Mourne Mountains. It also includes the pool, gym, thermal heat suites, spa treatments and relaxation rooms. Next to the hotel is the word famous Royal County Down Golf Course for those golf enthusiasts to enjoy.

There are also many ways to enjoy the food & drink that the Slieve Donard has to offer. The chefs use the finest local, seasonal produce to create a varied of menus. In the Oak Restaurant, breakfast, afternoon tea, dinner and Sunday lunch are served. Other dining options include the Chaplins Bar, the Lighthouse Lounge, where you can enjoy lunch while enjoying the view of the beach, and the Percy French Inn, a separate bistro restaurant situated at the entrance to the hotel. Weddings, Conferences and events are very popular in the Slieve Donard. 

I have started working in the main kitchen, situated in the Oak Restaurant in the pastry section. All the chefs are so friendly and I am settling in well. At the moment, the hotel is quiet but the weeks following on will be very busy. I have helped with preparation for different conferences and for afternoon teas. I have also baked sweet treats which are needed for the daily running of the restaurant such as traybakes, scones, breakfast muffins, panna cottas, cupcakes and lots more.

That’s all for now,



Sunday, 27 February 2022

Kimpton Hotel

 Hi everyone, Adam here,

I have just finished my first two weeks in the Kimpton Hotel in Edinburgh and it has been all round amazing experience so far, the people im working with are great and have been so helpful in my learning process. I couldn't have asked for a better placement. It is perched on the edge of a picturesque private garden in the New Town. Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel blends traditional glamour with the Scotland of today. Outside, a classical Georgian exterior stands as an ode to the past while inside, past the lobby, a glass-topped central courtyard is abuzz with activity as travellers unwind over gin & tonics, local professionals do business, and friends toast special occasions.

Before even beginning work we were treated to a complimentary dinner from the hotel as an oppurtunity to get aquainted with the other students that were also going on work placement. 

Edinburgh itself has been amazing to explore, there has been so much to see and do, the scenery and buildings are incredible, and there is still so much more for me to see, I plan to vist the castle that is overlooking the city very soon. Everything has been amazing so far and im excited to keep you updated on my journey here as it progresses.

Monday, 21 February 2022

The Next Chapter

Hello Everyone! My name is Marshall, and I am writing from Belfast City. I can’t believe that a month has already passed here at my time working as a Pastry Chef in the Grand Central Hotel on Bedford Street in Belfast City Centre. It feels like only yesterday that I travelled for the first time to Northern Ireland to begin the Next Chapter of my journey. Despite disruptions and changes to the final 2 years of my college life from Covid, here we are at my placement at last. All of my academia has been essentially completed and now that my final exam results have been released, this placement is all that’s left from finally graduating from the Ba(H) in Culinary Arts degree programme in WIT.
The Grand Central Hotel is the newest addition to the Hastings Hotel Group of Northern Ireland. Purchased in 2015 as Windsor House, an abandoned office block around the corner from their Europa Hotel, the building underwent a 3 year and £53 million (€60 million) revival to become what it is today. Standing as the tallest commercial building on the island of Ireland with 23 stories, the Grand Central offers 300 bedrooms. Dining is available through the ground floor Grand Café, 1st floor fine dining Seahorse Restaurant and Bar, and the top floor Observatory the offers afternoon tea and drinks with a window view of Belfast City. Our Executive Chef Damian Tumilty has the job of managing an extensive kitchen team spread across 4 kitchens located between the ground, 1st and top floor of the hotel. The ground floor kitchen serves the Grand Café with the Seahorse Restaurant kitchen and Pastry kitchen located on the first floor. A small kitchen located just off from the Observatory is where afternoon tea is plated and served from. Breakfast is served daily from the Grand Café during the weekdays with table service while a buffet breakfast is available for guests in the Seahorse Restaurant on the weekends. The Grand Café serves lunch and dinner up until 10pm daily while the Seahorse Restaurant is open on Friday and Saturday nights serving an a la carte fine dining menu. The Observatory offers afternoon tea daily with average numbers reaching 50 on the weekends. After afternoon tea service finishes, the observatory operates as a bar until late. The pastry production kitchen tucked away behind the function suites is where I spend most of my days. The kitchen has everything myself and the team need to do our jobs with our own ovens, workspaces, walk in fridges, dry stores areas and (thankfully) relative peace and quiet. There is a constant influx of the front of house team collecting goods, deserts for functions and Damian sticking his head in to check in with our progress. From 12:00 our landline phone is active enough with calls from around the hotel for requests, allergen enquiries and stock orders. Aside from this it is great that we have relative peace as there is never a day where we are not busy. A standard day starts with turning on the ovens while checking the order sheet the café has sent up the night before. After finishing off the final touches on the afternoon tea pastries for the day, the café must be restocked to include a decorated cake special, brownies, lemon meringues, our own custard creams, bakewells, cookies and carrot cake bars. Once both sets have been brought to either the café or up to the observatory our attention turns to the prep list written the day before which will take us up until 5 or so. On Fridays and Saturdays once the prep is finished and the kitchen is cleaned, I go up to the Seahorse Restaurant kitchen to set up my pastry section for service. After an hours breaks service begins and takes us up to around 10:30 by the time we have finished and cleaned up.

Sunday, 20 February 2022

Arrival at the Slieve Donard Hotel


Hi there, its April here from the Slieve Donard in Newcastle County Down. This Hotel was recently bought by AJ Capital, which took it over from the Hastings group, Hastings Hotels purchased the Slieve Donard, an old railway hotel, in 1972 After much investment over the years, many now regard the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa as the “Gleneagles” of Northern Ireland. I arrived by car on the 14th of January and my first impression when I saw the hotel was “wow” it was magnificent I couldn’t believe that I was going to get an experience in a hotel that looked like a castle which was also at the foot of the Mourne Mountains. The hotel has an historic look from the outside but when you enter the entrance it is modern, and you are met with warmth from the open fire, the coziness of the fabrics and the colours on the wall. I could tell straight away that this hotel is very family and friendly based. There is even a family dog who stays in the hotel and greets the guest. Its such little touch but makes every customer day special.  I felt right at home. I am staying in the hotel, and I get enjoy all the food, the use of the gym and pool.

Let’s talk some more about the hotel, there is a golden strand of beach borders one side while the mighty Royal County Down golf course frames the other, everywhere you look you are stunned with the view. The hotel boasts 180 luxurious bedrooms, including 100 new Executive and Resort rooms and six magnificent Suites, many of which have stunning panoramic views over the Mountains of Mourne and County Down coastline. The spa overlooks the beautiful view of the seaside and the mountains.

Now its time for me to get to work, a little taster of what I have experienced so far, so I have met all

the chefs who are very kind, patient, and they all have a passion for food. We focus on fine dining and flavourful dishes. We use locally sourced and seasonal ingredients which I have learned so far that you got to love and treat them with care for you to get the best outcome, for example preparation, cooking, cooling, storage, and reheating of all foods are different and necessary to know. I am working with many ingredients which I have not experience cooking with before, example
Kohlrabi which is vegetable but when prepared correctly it tastes amazing.  So far, I am working on the starter section, I am also getting experience on main course and dishing up sides. So far, I love it here at the Slieve Donard, there is something for everyone to do.

Until next time!

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Alchemist 2.0

So, 2 weeks down in my work placement and man has it been a rollercoaster! To say that what i have seen here in these 2 weeks may impact me more than the last 2 years of working would not be an understatement as walking into this restaurant is like entering another world of gastronomy. The best way that i can describe it is like a disney world for chefs, where every detail is taken into consideration and executed to perfection. Lets give you a small look into the Alchemist Experience!
When arriving at alchemist, you may feel like you are lost as there is no sign posting, advertising or anything of this sort, not even a sign outside the front door will tell you this is your destination. You are met with 2 massive doors with elaborate engravings in the middle of an industrial estate. This is to make entering the restaraunt feel like you are entering a new world.
You are then to be met by a masked violinist playing an intense danish home coming song which is a welcome to its guests in a way which will drive goosebumps throughout our body.
You will then make your way into the lounge where you will enjoy your first 10 courses which are small bits to start off the eating experience. You will also select from a wine collection of over 8000 bottles and beutiful cocktails to enjoy also. In the lounge you can watch the chefs at work as it is an open kitchen which gives the guests a more personal connection with the kitchen. .
You then walk up the stairs beside this massive wine celler and walk into the dome. The dome is a multi-sensory dining room which is almost like a planetarium where a massive 360 degree screen changes based on every dish, also specific smells and sounds are put into the room in order to bring this experience up another notch. In the dome the guests will enjoy the next 32 courses of the experience with each dishes either challenging the guest or challenging society or sustainablity issues around the world.
Guests will then table by table, enter the pink room which is more of a fun room to lighten up the night after sitting down for so long and having such an intense dining experence. Here guests are encouraged to dance or sing whilst enjoying 2 dishes inside the pink room.
Now it is time to meet the chefs for the guests. The guests will make their way into the dome service kitchen where they will be greeted by the chefs and given a rundown on how the kitchen runs. Guests then make their way upstairs in a multisensory lift which brings them to the balcony where they enjoy their last 6 courses and some cocktails, tea or coffee. In the next blog we will have a look at some of the dishes you will be eating in Alchemist 2.0!

Thursday, 10 February 2022

welcome to Billericay

Hi everyone, my name is Joan and for my work placement abroad I decided to go to England. So, where I am working at the moment is in a town called Billericay which is in Essex, England. Billericay is a town and civil parish in the Borough of Basildon, Essex, England. It lies within the London Basin and constitutes a commuter town with 25 miles east of Central London. That makes it very popular destination to live because it is so close to the centre of London, if you want to get into London, it's only 45 minutes on the train. The town of Billericay is surrounded by 2 schools, local shops and lots of different restaurants and pubs that are very welcome people I found So far.
I am working in a restaurant called brunch and bottle. Which I found so far to be very inviting and friendly. All the people I worked with are so nice. The head chef is very a common dating to me, and he's always helping me if I have any problems or if I need to talk. So, I have found that very helpful. I really enjoyed all the different things I'm making like I am on different sections as well mainly the pastry section because that is what I wanted, I asked if I could do that. I find it like a little family in there. Everyone gets on so well and I do think they're going to be amazing people to work with. I even get on really well with the waiting staff there also nice and we all can have a really good laugh sometimes. i find the hours that I am working are very nice So I do a five-day week and usually Monday, Tuesday Wednesday Thursday and Sunday would be nine to four and then Friday and Saturday would be 9 to 9, so a 12-hour shift. So, it's not too bad like it is only 2 days a week for that one. So far, I think I've learned a lot about ownership on things and responsibility, and being more like punctual and just developing my skills so much and they are all helping me so much in there. And I do find I am becoming a part of the teen and I really like that. It's only been my first month and I really do love it. I hope that you enjoyed listening to what I had to say and you stay along the journey of what happens to me here in Billericay in Brunch in bottle.

Monday, 7 February 2022

Leaving Lyon

 Hi all, Erika here. The last stretch was just as fun as the beginning (even with the exams). Thanks to Armistice Day in the middle of November, I had a four day weekend! This was made extra special by a visit from my parents. Aside from the obvious perk of having a suitcase brought home for me, I had the opportunity to have dinner at ‘Restaurant Jéremy Galvin’. This was one of the most incredible experiences I had here, as I saw the difference between French 


and Irish Michelin dining. Here, it is not solely about the food, but combining the senses with dishes. At one point, headphones were brought to the table, where sounds of the forest were played while we ate our fish course. The meal took over 4 hours, so is not for the impatient, but was definitely worth a visit. Another notable element to the meal was that the description of the dish is not given until the plates are taken away, which made for a fun game throughout the meal. 

Time off in the middle of the week allowed me to travel to Paris for the day. As the trip takes only two hours on the train, there is no excuse to skip visiting while you’re in Lyon. While there is no need to mention the multitude of unmissable spots in Paris, ‘Cedric Grolet’s’ was at the top of my to-do list. The prices are higher than your standard patisserie, but absolutely worth it, especially given the size of the pastries on offer. Getting to and from the train station at ‘Part-Dieu’ was a breeze with the C6 bus that runs directly from Écully to Part-Dieu, but I would highly recommend getting a taxi back from the station if your train arrives later in the evening. 


The final exams were less daunting than I imagined, especially considering the week before is a study week, similar to Ireland. Since my last week of kitchen was three weeks before the theory exams, this was a load off when it came to studying. While the library on campus was not open while I was there, having a group of friends to study with was a huge help, and possibly better than keeping silent in a library. The group projects we had to do for classes were a great way to get into the mindset of studying together. 

While this chapter of my time in France is over, I’m looking forward to the next experience here, when I go back for my work placement. Hopefully the report from there will be as positive as this.


Thursday, 3 February 2022

First month in snowing Canada


Hi guys,

My name is lee-Ann Kirwan. I’m currently a third-year student studying in Humber college Institute of Technology & Advanced learning for second semester of the international year. I am excited to see Canada as I always said I wanted to live in Canada or Australia when I was older. It was a great opportunity to see what Canada has to offer. I came to Canada on my own as my classmates David had already arrived a few days before and Sam was coming later. I met other students from wit travelling on my flight, so I got a taxi with them to the campus. There is two Campus for Humber college called North campus and Lakeshore campus. The Lakeshore campus is 21 minutes away from North campus. North Campus is only 2 minutes’ walk to North Humber college which is handy for 8am starts.

I am living on campus I thought the rooms would be better than what they are as they were a lot of money, but they will do for 4 months I’m here. I have my own bedroom on a big hall with other bedrooms and we all shared a washroom and common room together. All students must get a meal plan for campus which means the money is on student card. You get breakfast, lunch and dinner and there is also snacks, coffee and teas.

I have met some friends from Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden which are doing exchange same as me. Before I came to Canada we all have a WhatsApp group already, so it was handy to organise trips to do food shopping or to the mall and meet up as a group. The Humber International center girls Erin and Rebecca have been a great from the start when we got accepted to Humber college. They
organised orientation session when we arrived in Toronto to give us information about blackboard, transport and we were playing games to get all the international students to meet up. Rebecca organised a food tour walk to go to downtown. It was great chance to meet more people from different countries that haven’t been to Toronto either.


Unfortunately, when I arrived in Toronto the restrictions had change on that day, so they were back on stage 2 which met that all indoors restaurants closed, reducing social gathering to 5 indoor and 10 outdoors, museums, zoo, gyms, theatres, cinemas and college is online for two weeks. Hopefully some of them will be open in the next two weeks.

I have two classes a week which are Italian cuisine, practical culinary skills proficiency for seven weeks and then emerging trends in Canadian cuisine and advanced nutritional cuisine for another seven weeks which is unique feature in this course. I’m doing work on Thursday and Friday in Humber college such as food shop run by student cooking in college, restaurant on campus and receiving. It’s been an eventful few weeks already so I’m looking forward to Canada opening up properly. P.S I HAVE ALREADY BEEN TO ER HOSPITAL DEPT BEFORE A MONTH IN.

Chat soon