Friday, 29 April 2022

Working Hard or Hardly Working


Hi guys, Bethany here. Coming into month 3 of placement and things are going just fine. Work has its ups and downs, hard days and easy but the atmosphere and mood in the kitchen has definitely improved lately. After the loss of our head and sous chefs the kitchen has more of a team dynamic rather than a hierarchy, and surprisingly, it works very well.

As I come into the last month of my placement, I have realized that this is the city for me. Edinburgh is such a beautiful place and there is so much to do and see. Every time I explore, I find something new and it’s a constant source of excitement for me.

In the last  3 months I have had friends and family come to visit me, and while I have my favorite sights, restaurants, and bars, we always try to find some place new to try. Thanks to our adventures, the top restaurants/bars on my list now include;

·         Dishoom, Edinburgh’s top Indian restaurant, a tapas-sharing type menu full of exotic, fragrant, mouth-watering dishes. 

·         Café Adaluz, a Spanish tapas restaurant full of authentic Spanish décor, food, and atmosphere. It feels like you stepped into Spain.

·         The Alchemist, magically fun drinks that  excite the soul and taste amazing. Entertainment included as you watch the drinks being made right in front of you at the bar.



Along with having an amazingly diverse culinary industry, Edinburgh has some of the worlds greatest sights. This month I spent most of my days off exploring Old Town. The royal mile is home to gorgeous Georgian architecture, busy tourist shops,  jaw dropping photo opportunities and constantly full of tourists. It is the perfect place to spend your weekends if you enjoy busy, life filled streets. Or nice to stroll through by yourself when its quiet and calm on a morning and the sun starts to hit the buildings, lighting up all the streets on the walk from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Castle.


Out of all the places I’ve lived so far in my 22 years, Edinburgh is top of the list. I can now see myself settling down here, enjoying my life and becoming more intimately familiar with this gorgeous city.

In next weeks blog I will dive into the inner workings of Intercontinental Edinburgh The George Hotel, the kitchen, our menu, management style and an honest review of my placement so far. 

Sunday, 24 April 2022

Grand central 2

 Hi everyone. Its faith here again, to give you guys an update on how I have been getting on at the Grand central.

 Since my last blog post, Marshall has sadly  completed his placement and left us. The pastry department is back down to 2 people because of that I have been given more responsibility and have been able to do up any cake ideas or other ideas I have . There are now days where I am on my own in the pastry kitchen, working through the prep list and dealing with any problems that might occur. That been said everyone pops their head in to check, to ensure I'm doing okay and if I need any help. I find it quite nice being in there on my own because I can just play my music and work through the list as I see fit .It does mean I am working longer hours but that is grand as I only have to pop on the lift to get up to my room. 

I have been working in the morning shift since the beginning of my placement, doing the prep work during the day but come next Saturday I will have my first evening shift .I will be starting later in the day and doing prep work till service commence in the seahorse restaurant where I will have to help out plating the deserts. this will be something different from the usual routine and a  new challenge for me.

All in all I'm really enjoying my time here at the hotel and I will give an update on how I get on in my next blog.

Monday, 18 April 2022

Blog Entry 2

Hello everyone!

I have been in Chania for almost two months now. So far, I can say that it has been a very nice experience. The heat is now really starting in full splendor and little by little more and more tourists are arriving on the island. As the work here is very much determined by the tourist season, I have found out some crazy things like, from May to September, there are places that don't give any days off, because they close in October and don't open until March of the following year. Isn't it crazy to work five months continuously? Surprisingly, the Greeks seem to accept the deal without reluctance. 

Well, now let's move on to my work. I'm working once a week properly in the kitchen and the other days I'm doing preparations. These are simple but time-consuming activities that have been a challenge to learn how to do them well and faster.  

As the season is changing, so are the dishes. Matzenta is a place that tries to be eco-friendly and use the ingredients found on this island. The only things they import from Mexico are chiles and tortillas. 

At the moment there are four of us in the kitchen. A girl named Sara, who did her internship last semester and decided to stay, Pedro, the sous Chef and Grigoris, the head chef. The owner, Dimitris, also comes into the kitchen when the place is very crowded.

I feel very fortunate to be in a place where there is good treatment between everyone. I feel, especially with Grigoris, a good friendship, even though he is my boss and I sometimes feel I am sitting all the way to the bottom of the chain of hierarchy.  In this post I want to introduce them to you through photos. Grigoris is the one who smiles the most, then Pedro and finally Sara. 

My goal in the last remaining month is to ask for more responsibility. I am an anxious person and, although on the one hand I am scared of having more things to do, on the other hand I am interested in improving and being able to do more and more things. Watching them working is inspiring. I'm just finishing chopping an onion and they've already made a sauce, started heating up the stock, etc. I told Sara that I felt completely useless and that I was not contributing anything and she told me that she felt that way last year. That reassured me and reminded me that, although I am studying gastronomy and am about to finish, I really have zero experience in the kitchen. 

Finally, I think what I have learned the most is to relax in the work environment. The first few weeks I was too stressed about not making a mistake. Now I have accepted that I am going to make mistakes and that the important thing is to know how to fix them and to move on.


Thursday, 14 April 2022

Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle

Hello from Newcastle

Since my last blog post, work has been extremely busy. I am working 5 days a week, a minimum of 40 hours per week. I get two days off every week and I try to make the most of my days off. There are some lovely walks around Newcastle, along the promenade overlooking the beach or there are different walks around the Mourne Mountains.  

It was a bit overwhelming at the beginning as it was such a big change working in a hotel but I am now very confident with finding my way around the kitchen and enjoying every minute. Since my last blog post, I have got a lot of experience in the pastry section. I have experienced a range of different tasks in the pastry section in the main restaurant. Some days, I work the early shift, for example from 8am until 4pm or the night shift from 12 – finish. However, these hours depend on how busy we are. During the day shifts, I would have the responsibility of making sure all the afternoon teas are ready and then I would make sure there is traybakes ready for the Chaplins Bar and the Lighthouse Lounge as these are served to the guests with their coffees. There is never a dull moment in the pastry kitchen as we are always preparing for something!

Pastry Service 

Valentine’s Day was huge in the Slieve Donard with a special menu for the weekend leading up to the day. I was in charge of making shortbread biscuits and cupcakes in the shapes of hearts for the guests. The desserts during the service were also changed to suit the theme of Valentine’s Day. Easter is fast approaching and I am curious to what it will be like in the hotel during this time.

The hotel is very busy and this week I have moved from pastry to the function. This was an exciting change. I have only been there for a week but so far, I am enjoying it. There has been a lot of conferences and weddings at the hotel.

Overall, since I arrived at the Slieve Donard I have learnt loads and I am gaining lots of experience. I am very happy here and I would highly recommend anyone to do their work placement in this hotel. Especially for those who are weary about moving away from home. I have made lots of new friends and I am excited to see what the next few weeks will bring.

Until next time,


Monday, 11 April 2022

12 weeks in London

 Hi again!

Sasha here in London. So I have come to the end of my 12 week placement, but Crispin have decided to extend my trainee ship until the end of August which I am so happy with!

Since my last blog, one of the chefs have left so I have had to step up and really get into my role of Chef De Partie. This role includes, prep, staff food, service and writing prep lists. I have learned so much since being here and I am really enjoying it, especially over the last few weeks as I feel I have become a proper team member and not just an extra pair of hands. I found service quite tough at the beginning as it involves a lot more cooking for each table than what I am used to. For instance if we have 30 covers this means we could do around 60 dishes as some are shared and smaller plates which means there could be more of them. However, I am much more confident now and enjoy service rather than dread it! I am really enjoying seeing many different ingredients and how they change with the seasons and I can't wait to see what the summer brings.

Overall, I am completely settled in London now, living with my sister and have managed to make somereally good friends. Since the place I am working in is quite small, I found it difficult to make friends and kept it mainly as a work relationship. I decided to try Bumble BFF to meet some new people and found it so helpful! It did feel a bit weird and intimidating at first as I haven't had to do this before but once I got over myself and started using it I met some really great people in London from many different countries. So if anyone is finding it difficult to meet people as it can be scary to go up to people in public, I would strongly recommend Bumble BFF and just put yourself out there!

Some of the things I m enjoying London in particular is the architecture, I'm not usually overly interested int his kind of thing but the buildings in London are beautiful, it's so interesting to see the old with the modern ones, this is especially easy to see in Greenwich. I also love how easy it is to travel and how hassle free it all is, much easier than in Ireland! Seeing so many different cultures in one place is fascinating and brings so many different cuisines to try! This is the case in the market close to where I live which has such a selection of cuisines. The picture below is a Malaysian dish I tried with blue rice, which was my first time trying something like this! 

Thanks for reading, all the best!

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Edinburgh ||


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.

The 5 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!
Talk soon,

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Blog Entry 1

 Blog 1


I want to tell you about the place where I am doing my internship in gastronomy. It is called: Matzenta Kuzina del Sol. It is a restaurant that aims to be a bridge between Mexican gastronomy and Cretan gastronomy. Its owner, Dimitri, was living in Mexico for five years and fell in love with Mexican gastronomy. With an absolute respect for Mexican recipes, his goal is to combine both gastronomy, as Cretan gastronomy is extremely important to him as well. 

I arrived on February 22, 2022, and started working on February 24.  It has been almost a month and I think I can already narrate in detail my experience here.

First, the bureaucracy in Greece is a mess. Until very recently, I didn't know if I was going to be able to stay or not, because in order to register in the Greek system, it was necessary to present documents that no one had ever asked me for before, including a "marital status". The Greeks want to know, for some reason, whether you are married or not when they give you a work license. I have a European passport, have lived in three different countries and have never had a problem starting to work. In Greece, that was not the case. I recommend that if you want to come to work in Greece (which is beautiful), investigate well the necessary documentation and do not trust just because you have an EU passport. My recommendations are:

Translate your birth certificate into Greek and apostille it.

Get a certificate proving that you are single or married, known as marital or civil status. Also translate it into Greek.

Fortunately, a few days ago everything was sorted out and I am now officially registered in the Greek system. 


Now let's go to the restaurant. My activities have been basic, I'm pretty much on my own doing mise en place. I leave several things ready for the chefs to finish their more complicated preparations and start the service. In the kitchen, for the moment, there are three of us: Grigoris (the main chef) Petro and me. On weekends Dimitri (the owner) is also inside helping to prepare the dishes. My activities are: washing and cutting vegetables, deveining chili peppers, making chocolate truffles, peeling shrimp, making barbacoa meatballs, etc.

It's a lot of work behind the scenes, but it's just what I needed. For example, the vegetables here are organic and brought directly from the farmer. They are full of soil and animals. Washing them is a time-consuming activity and I'm learning how to be as efficient as possible. There are things I like a lot. For example, they bring the oregano from the mountains and I have to clean it so that only the grass is left. Being in a restaurant that has such a close connection with the producers is beautiful, but extremely laborious.  These are things that we take for granted because they usually arrive already "chewed" to our homes, but there is a lot of work inside. 

In fact, that's one thing that has impressed me. There are preparations that take hours to make, so that at the end someone eats it in 15 or 20 seconds. Buddhists make very complicated mandalas and then erase them to train their ego. I think chefs do something similar. We are preparing something for hours and a person arrives who, in a matter of minutes, will consume that thing that took us so long to make. It can make all the sense in the world, if it's something you're passionate about, or it can be completely absurd, if you don't like it.  

So much for my reflections and experiences of this first month. In a few more weeks, I will write another entry in this blog.


José Salum

Monday, 4 April 2022

Copenhagen, welcome to the Nordics!

 Hello guys! Grace here again, speaking from Copenhagen. In my last post I spoke about Noma, the reason why I came here. But, I don't think it would be fair to come to Copenhagen and not speak about the city and everything it offers! Its by far one of the most beautiful places I've lived in. 

For me, (sounds biased coming from a chef) COPENHAGEN = FOOD. 

The food culture here is like no other that I have ever encountered. Theres food markets everywhere, with a variety of ingredients that is truly amazing! The flavour combinations that the Danish culture boasts of is unreal! Ferments and pickled ingredients are most certainly a staple here. Everything tastes to fresh! 
If you are ever in Copenhagen, places I would recommend to eat are at:
Reffen food market, Lille Bakery, Alice coffee shop, Jagger, Gasoline Grill, POPL burger....the list goes on.
With the food culture comes the people. I've felt very welcomed since the start here in Copenhagen. With people being extremely open and welcoming since day 1.


Theres always something to do in this city, wether its site seeing, swimming, going to the beach, to parks, to clubs/pubs, restaurants, even skiing! The nightlife here is unbelievable! Everything opens until very late and the environment is so nice. You have a wide variety of things to choose from like techno clips, latin clubs, pubs, etc. It is very fun.
It's great to be able to do my work placement in a city like this. I think it's so so so important to have a healthy life-work balance. Not everything is about Noma. Its important to be open to people, opportunities, and life! Theres so much to offer in Copenhagen and Im here for it. 
Talk soon!


1 month down


Hi everyone,

Shannon from fourth year here. This is my first blog entry. I am just over 1 month into my work placement.

When choosing my work placement, it had to be somewhere commutable and because of this I felt there was a strong possibility that I wouldn’t get the best experience as I was restricted.

I couldn’t have been any more wrong. I am working in Savages Bakery, a family run bakery just across the border. The bakery was set up about 30 years ago and has continuously expanded ever since, originally just selling a handful of baked goods to now having a full hot and cold delicatessen, full baked good range, celebration cakes, on-site eatery and supply retailers throughout Northern Ireland and some parts of the republic. 

The thing I absolutely love so far about my placement is because it’s a family run business and a relatively small work team, is that everyone works together and learns from each other. There is an amazing work atmosphere. Since I am only here for a short time, I feel that the other bakers and the owners understand I want to gain the experience and knowledge to benefit the rest of my career and they’re willing to show me anything I ask or anything they believe would be of interest. 

A general day for me involves a lot of coffee after an almost 4 hour commute in total, decorating  and filling hundreds of donuts, pastries, buns and celebrations cakes, packaging the baked goods, preparing mixes and shaping and baking breads. 

I definitely prefer to decorating side of things over the actual baking. For me personally, it’s just very labour intensive and does not bring as much enjoyment. I am surprised by this as I thought the baking route was for me but I love the decorating side of it all.

I feel like I’m also getting a good insight into the business element of it all as I have a good relationship with the owner and his daughter Shannon who has a business degree. She had recently started within the business within the last year and has brought the business forward in terms of profitability, minimising waste and expanding the product range with retailers. 

I mainly work alongside about 3/4 male bakers all of which have about 20+ years of experience which is fantastic for me as I really feel like I’m gaining so much knowledge from them.

Anyways, that’s all for now. I will check in again in a few weeks! :)


Oceans Season, Noma 2022

 Hello everybody! Grace here from Copenhagen :). Ive had the amazing opportunity to do my internship at Restaurant Noma, voted Best Restaurant in the World 2021. 

I walked through Nomas doors on February 14th. I was nervous, excited, expectations were through the roof. I was extremely curious to see what is it that makes a restaurant the best in the world. I felt extremely lucky and grateful for being there since day 1. 

The establishment is truly beautiful. It is not like any restaurant I've ever seen. The architecture is mesmerising and truly original. 

I think the best way of explaining my time here would be to walk you through a day at Noma. 

Entrance time is 9am. You walk in, get changed into their most comfortable uniforms (navy t-shirt and an apron) and you go straight into the kitchen. Tasks are not very difficult. Nomas cuisine has a lot of fermentation, which is done solely by the test kitchen/fermentation lab. In noma, there's two kitchen, production and service kitchen. As the name kind of explains for itself, production kitchen is where the "bulk" prep happens: picking herbs, cutting butter, pealing shrimp, cleaning crab, passing fish mousse, etc. 

Service kitchen prep is more precise and consists of smaller tasks that require more attention and precision. examples of these would include: prepping of seafood, smoking, sauces, grilling, etc. 

As part of the internship programme, you're moved around the kitchen every 2 weeks and get to see all the different sections and dishes. according to your capabilities, motivation and self determination, you will be moved more or less often. You really have to show that you want to learn and that you're determined, if not....theres always cod mousse that needs to be passed :).

Noma is doing seafood season right now.meaning that every single thing on the menu revolves around the sea. Even the salt that they use to season is made in-house using kelp! Its delicious!!

Heres an example of one of the dishes that I have been working on recently: oyster eclair.

Savoury eclair, filled with an oyster infused cream, dipped in a seaweed glaze, garnished with caviar and kelp salt. 
The dishes that are used in the restaurant are made by hand! they're truly amazing:

Breakfast is served at 11, lunch at 3. Service begins at 5. And the clock moves extremely quick. 
Before you know it, you're cleaning down at 9 and are home at 10:30. And the day is gone. 
What they do in there is truly magic. 
Cant wait to tell you more! Stay tuned for my next Bloggs! 
- Grace

Friday, 1 April 2022

Nearly There

Hello Everyone, Marshall again.

Where do I even begin? They say that time flies when you are having fun and that is absolutely true. I can't believe that it's already April and my time here at the Grand Central Hotel is nearly finished. 

Work has been incredibly busy since the last time I had posted. The last 2 weeks in particular have been the busiest I have ever seen in any hotel I have worked at prior. The weekend of Mother's Day saw 299 out of the 300 rooms available booked on Saturday night, resulting in 500 or so coming down for breakfast in a 3.5-hour window. Both the Grand Cafe and the Seahorse Restaurant were opened for buffet breakfast with all the senior chefs and Damian himself coming in to help out. Pastry was relatively calm Sunday morning as all of the work had been done on Saturday for the 125 people in for Afternoon Tea. At £40pp for Afternoon Tea, that equates to £5,000 worth of sales before a guest purchase any drinks or extras. Afternoon Tea was split between 2 locations as the top floor Observatory was fully booked over a week in advance of the day, so the Seahorse Restaurant and Lounge was opened for Afternoon Tea service to accommodate the extra guests. Overall the day ran relatively smoothly and it has been business as usual so far after.

I feel that the pastry team is coming together well and I am glad for the newest addition to the team. Faith is also here on placement from Waterford IT and is settling in fantastically. With the 3 of us in total working together our days are running smoother and smoother. 

It is going to be a shame when I finish my placement and leave in just over 2 weeks. I have made so many friends and have bonded so well with all the staff here at the Grand Central. On the 20th of March, there was the long-overdue Staff "Christmas" party that was pushed back because of Covid-19. It was a themed dress to impress and turned out to be a fantastic night. The party was held at our sister hotel the Europa just around the corner from us on Victoria Street. After a feed, a few drinks, and a few hours of music most of the staff and I headed into town for the night.

Anyways I am going to leave my update at that.

Marshall :)