Monday, 30 May 2022

The George Edinburgh

 Hi all, Bethany here with my final blog post about work in The George Hotel Edinburgh.

So I have finally completed my hours for placement and its almost bitter sweet writing this last post. Although it feels sad, this isn’t an end, only a new beginning. I remember being so frustrated, like the rest of our year group when covid hit and our college experience was changed completely. But now I get to think of this experience as entirely unique, I don’t have to leave this city that I’ve fallen in love with. No more college to return to, I can stay in my job, and continue to plan my life here. I’m now incredibly grateful to have been given this experience at all.

The George hotel has had its ups and downs since I’ve worked here. We’ve lost some good chefs, some friends have left us for better opportunities, or some like my dear friend Lauren who is returning to WIT for her final year. We have dealt with some extremely busy nights and some very quiet ones too.

For the most part I’m glad I don’t have to leave, I’ve made friends working in the hotel, and learned a great deal about the hotel industry. I have been ordained “Chief of Pastry” by my co-workers and we’re never short of a laugh.

The kitchen team has it rough sometimes, like most chefs around the world. But now we officially have a new Head Chef and a Sous, so there will be more structure and better management within the kitchen. I really have enjoyed learning the ins and outs of each section, and taking on the pastry section as my own, I have full creative control over the dessert menu… within reason of course.


My goals for the next few months are to completely revamp the dessert menu, the ingredients used and the methods. I’ve been reading into more eco friendly and healthier pastry recipes lately and I think it would be interesting to try incorporating that into the hotel’s food. We are a 5* hotel after all, the food should always reflect the star status.

I do one day hope to move on and to continue expanding my patisserie experience, but for now I’m glad to say I have a job and I’m comfortable, so I can’t complain. Who knows, maybe I’ll stay in the hotel for longer than I envisioned, maybe I'll move up the ranks. I have been given the opportunity to learn the kitchen operations that are handled in the office, which I’ve been told could lead to a managerial type level of experience and the pay to reflect that. The experience will be incredibly helpful to learn considering I still have a dream of opening my own bakery one day.

Anyway, things are going well, there are always bumps in the road. But I try to remind myself that I’ve been through worse, and this is a great opportunity to be given. Not many are as lucky in life, and I will forever be grateful that I can consider myself lucky.

Finally just to say thank you to my friends, the last 4 years have been amazing, I miss you all and can’t wait to see you again. 

Goodbye for now, Bethany. 

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Grand central 3

 Hello everyone, Faith here again for the final time. 

Since the last blog post we have had the Taoiseach Micheal Martin and Minister of foreign affairs Simon Coveney at the hotel for meetings, to which everyone was coming up to tell they were here. We have gotten two new chefs joined the team, one of which is our new executive sous chef. There is exciting times ahead with Damien starting to change the direction of the a la carta menu and with the extra help we can start to implement this direction, all I need now is for another pastry chef to join. Further in the pastry department we have had to come up with a new afternoon tea menu to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee and have begun to batch make the items such as the lilac earl grey macaroons.

I would highly recommend coming to the Grand Central for industrial placement. Not only is having a free five star accommodation right in the city central amazing but the hotel is a great place to work. They believe in your ability and allow you to come up with your own ideas for specials, if you feel like things aren't working efficiently you can implement changes to make your life better. Everyone here is very helpful and its a great team to be apart of. There are tough times where there is a lot to do with little time, it is then a matter of just stepping back looking at the list and organise it due to importance .It has taught me to tell people no when they are being unreasonable and expecting me to preform miracles, I would just have to remind people that there is only two people in pastry and some days only one of us.

Other than the few negatives which there will all was be ,I have been enjoying my time here so much that I have decided to stay on at the hotel for the summer. Now I can look forward to spending time in Belfast during the summer and see where the direction of the hotel will go.

If you have any further questions don't be afraid to contact me.

That's all for me, bye.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Edinburgh, Over and out

 Hey Guys this is Lauren back with my final blog in Edinburgh. I just finished working at The Intercontinental, the George hotel. Overall my experience there was generally positive. The main negative was the changing team and general lack of chefs. However that issue seems to be resolved now as a new head chef has started and is bringing more chefs with him which is great. He is changing a few things around and I think if the restaurant goes in the direction he is taking it I'd definitely recommend it. However as it was when I was there I think I definitely would have learned more in BABA. Something I did like was getting to be in charge of my own section. Even though I had less experience than the others working there I still felt very respected and my input was appreciated. For my last week I was on the banqueting team, which was a nice switch of pace and a nice way to wind down working at the hotel. If you want more flexible working hours I'd definitely recommend asking to work on the functions as they are very relaxed. I could basically come in when I wanted as long as the prep got done.  And once the function was sent and everything was cleaned you could leave. So generally I was finishing around 9 when if I was in the restaurant I wouldn't be finishing till around 11. I also feel very lucky to have made amazing friends while working. I feel very lucky knowing that I always have a job and people to call if I come back here. 

Edinburgh is such an amazing place to go regardless if you choose the George or not. There are so many great places to eat. On Sunday I went to the neighborhood market and got to try lots of different foods and listen to live music in the sun. I would definitely recommend checking it out if you are in Edinburgh. It is Stockbridge which is also a very cute area with lots of nice cafes, bakeries and restaurants. So definitely a good spot to go to. The start of the water of Leith walkway is also in Stockbridge which feels like an escape from the city which is great if you are in need of a bit of peace and quiet. I could honestly go on all day about Edinburgh but I will leave you here.

Thanks for reading,

That's me over and out

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

The End of Canada


Right so, that was Canada. It was many things that I didn’t expect or think of beforehand such as the 4 month spell of cold weather, I expected like 2 months but sure it was grand. The distances to go from one place to another was definitely a culture shock. Money is definitely something to be considered, as in seriously save a lot it’ll be needed and more. It was definitely a much different time in comparison to my time in Denmark. Going from 70+ hour working weeks in a city you can cycle around everywhere and the atmosphere is bright and clean. To a massive metropolitan city where it takes an hour to go for a coffee, doing 4 hours of college work a week and it's dark for a solid 2 months. Two polar opposites but both gave me a lot of experience and lessons learned.  

The Humber College experience was definitely something very different, to be honest.  Our classes in WIT seem to be somewhat busier but both classes get the same level of content across, with regards to their information, pace and so on. LeeAnn, Sam and myself were always the first finished in every class, and to be honest found it maybe a touch easier than our WIT classes. The food was moreso Italian or Asian in cuisine when I had expected maybe some more Canadian food, given the massive multicultural way f life however, it made sense. As a word of advice, perhaps I would’ve lived off campus so to cook for myself and others as in residence you couldn’t. This could definitely allow you to progress yourself just by making home cooked dishes from produce from the likes of St. Lawrences Market, a must see by the way!

On a positive note we made some great friends over there and had good nights out, seen some cool things and enjoyed the social side of college life. There are some great foodie places in Toronto, none of which are very cheap but all delicious. From this angle an being exposed to such a varying culture of foods, it’s amazing to see what’s possible for us back in Ireland. The 3 personal favourites of mine were Rol San, 416 Snack Bar and also Bar Raval. Rol San is based in Chinatown and in my opinion was the best Asian Food we had over there, although not so cheap, the portions are massive and well worth the price, even for chicken feet. Next was 416, the chef Dustin actually was a guest chef in one of our classes and his food is definitely a reflection of him, big in flavours, delicate little plates and overall great vibes. And my all time favourite from Canada was Bar Raval, super authentic Spanish Tapas Bar serving great food, beer and wine, for a reasonable price surprisingly. All these foodie places make up for the college experience so I would definitely recommend exploring and educating yourself, just as mentioned before, don’t forget to save up for it. Also seeing some NBA and Baseball games is a must they’re unreal craic!

Canada was a big experience and one that I'm dead happy I did, in fairness to all the lads I met and knew before it wouldn't have been nearly as good without them, and on that note God Bless and enjoy Erasmus! (Here's Sam with his stick)

And lastly, the year is really what you make of it, so always say yes and don't leave with regrets!


Monday, 23 May 2022

Hotel Camiral

 Bon dia , It's Semeehat!

 I'm blogging straight from Espanya. My international work placement will be taking place in a hotel Camiral , in the number one golf resort in Spain, named Pga Catalunya. I mean how exciting is that!

I know absolutely nothing about golf, but PGA is more than just that and that's why I think I will enjoy my time here.

PGA Catalunya

 Owned by an Irish businessman, Denis O'Brien. PGA Catalunya Golf and Wellness is one of the world's leading real estate developments and fully-serviced lifestyle resorts, located less than an hour from the vibrant city of Barcelona, 20 minutes from the stunning beaches of the Costa Brava, and just 15 minutes from the historic town of Girona. This estate includes two championship golf courses, a five-star hotel, Hotel Camiral, a Kids Club, and a wide range of dining options. The Forest Park zip wire, a family adventure park featuring an exciting zip-wire experience in picturesque woodland, is one of the many outdoor activities offered by PGA Catalunya to encourage tourists to appreciate the lovely surroundings. Cycling, trekking, and horseback riding trails through the neighboring forests are among the other recreational activities available. The golf resort includes another hotel called La Vida, a contemporary hotel with a view of the forest park and mountains.

Restaurant 1477

My first week in the restaurant was enjoyable. The restaurant is located on the first floor of the hotel. The menu has European influence with a Catalan twist. I will complete my placement in the pastry section of the kitchen. The dinner service starts at seven and ends at half eleven for us, working in the pastry section.

As you can imagine, I was a bit worried because I don't speak Spanish. Fortunately for me, in the kitchen, there are a lot of the chefs, that speak English. Finding this out eased my worries and I felt like communication in the kitchen would be easy after all.

Well, that is all for now. I can't wait for more to come. I am really excited about everything to come. 

Hope to see you in the next blog!!! Take care...

Adios xx


Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Edinburgh III

My time in baba has sadly come to an end. My three months were tough but exciting as I learned an abundance. From a brand-new cuisine, I never cooked, to a new system of operations to then a new team who I had to learn to cook with-it was eye opening from the outside and from within.

There were a lot of pros about the job whilst also some cons. The hours and workload were a lot- it’s as cheffy as a place can get as they take pride in their work- and they really push themselves and others. It is very hard at first, however I think the hardest part about working here is the monthly pay. Most places in Ireland are weekly pay, so I never had to think about budgeting a month in advance- it is also hard working for a place and not seeing the reward, being paid, until the month is up. I feel if it had of been weekly pay, I would have stayed longer. The pros were meeting a new team of people and feeling respected by them, whilst also respecting them back. Learning about ingredients I never knew existed, living in a fantastic town which is very food centric and just getting to explore what Edinburgh had to offer.

I would say Edinburgh is a very adaptable city if you are nervous about moving abroad. It is like Ireland in the fact its easy to navigate, nice people and living costs are around the same. To sum up, I would highly recommend Baba in Scotland, especially if you want to be a chef and to learn a new cuisine Baba is the place for you.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch,

Monday, 16 May 2022

Off Time in Canada

 Because of the times, lengths and amount of modules you do, you find yourself with a nice amount of down time. Public transport makes it very easy to go into the city, however it is about an hours trip to get downtown. But once there, there is a wide range of activities to do. There are endless amounts of bars to go to and there is also a wide range of restaurants and cuisines to try and I would strongly suggest that you try as many different restaurants and cuisines while you are there as it really opens your eyes to what is actually out there. 

The faculty of business, who run the culinary programmes, were very good at organising trips to see various attractions and other outings. With the faculty of business we went to a vineyard for a wine tasting and following this we went to Niagara falls, which are a must see while staying in Canada. Another trip we went on with the faculty was to the CN tower, which had amazing views of the city and put the size of Toronto into perspective. We also attended a hockey game and basketball game with the facility. The coordinators from the faculty of business were great and helped make our time there really nice. P.S all these trips are covered by the faculty of business.

One of the most surprising trips we went on while in Canada was going to Cuba for a week. I could not recommend going to Cuba enough. We flew out on our mid term break for a week and it was amazing. We went from snow to sun and it was a great way to get away and it was something different than just going into the city or travelling to another part of Canada. The food may not be the best but that didn't have much effect on the overall time there.

I would highly recommend going to Humber College to study as I had an amazing time and made unforgettable memories and great friendships.

College Life in Canada

The course that we were taking was Culinary Management and for this before we left we had to list the classes in the order we would want to take them and then when we arrived we were told what we would be doing. Because the course is two years long the breakdown is different than that of back home so instead of doing the same classes for the whole semester it changed following the mid term break. Also you take less classes than we do at home so for example for the first block I had two kitchen classes one on a Tuesday and one Wednesday and work experience Thursday and Friday and for the second block I had two kitchen classes one Monday and one Tuesday work experience stayed the same. So in total I only took five subjects broken down between the fourteen weeks, three and three, whereas back home we would have at least five a week for the whole semester. The time spent in the labs was the same as back home. We had four hours in each class and worked eight hours on campus.

I had four labs and work experience and the four labs included Italian Cuisine, Asian Cuisine, Professional Proficiency and Chef's Table. I found Italian and Asian Cuisines to be the best because you were actually learning something new. Chef's Table would be ranked next, it's where you are in charge of the student restaurant onsite, groups come up with menus and the students run the kitchen. It is good however if you have service experience it can seem very slow. Lastly was Professional Proficiency which was good however it's just reading a recipe and doing it, it's all up to you which at this point we had done many times back home.

The facilities they have in terms of kitchen labs and equipment are amazing, there are so many and so many different labs. But this was a huge advantage to us as all lecturers had nothing but praise for David, Leeann and myself.


Arriving in Canada

 It was originally planned for me to fly out to Canada on the fifth of January however this date was pushed back due to me getting COVID. However this worked in my favour due to the fact I was unable to get student accommodation and was going through Airbnb which fell through on the fifth of January, hours before I should have landed in Canada. Eventually I took off for Canada on the seventeenth of January and everything was going as planned until we got to Canada when we heard that one of the worst snow blizzards to hit Canada had caused Toronto airport to close. This meant that the plane had to land in Montreal where I stayed the night. This wasn't too bad as the airline company had covered the cost of the hotel and the food we would need. The next day we loaded onto buses and started a six hour bus ride to Toronto airport. From here I eventually made it to my Airbnb.

I would highly recommend to anyone to search for an Airbnb instead of staying in the student accommodation. From the stories I heard from others, the onsite student accommodation rooms were cramped, the area was loud and the overall conditions were not very nice. Whereas in my experience with Airbnb, I had a spacious room in a quiet house, in a quiet area about twenty minutes away from the college. I had access to a kitchen unlike in the student accommodation, which meant I could cook my own meals instead of the meals given in the accommodation or takeaways.

There were however downsides to living off campus, I lived twenty minutes away which meant I had to walk or take another form of transportation which I didn't like doing due to the fact I was trying not to spend all my money as well. The social aspect for me wasn't as good as others living onsite. What I mean by this is that when college was done I normally went home, because at the time I wasn't allowed into residence, so when the others had a chance to socialise after college I was at home. Now this did change once COVID restrictions were lifted and I had the option of going into residence however this was towards the end when I was leaving. This is not to say i didn't socialise by going out into the city for various activities which i did and I very much liked the group we had and got on with everyone.

Blog entry 3

 My last month in Chania!

Hello everyone!

I'm about to finish my internship and I really only have positive comments about it. I wish everyone was as lucky as I was to be in a restaurant or organization where they trust you, treat you well and make you feel like your work matters. That was exactly the case for me and I feel like I am leaving a family in this beautiful place.

As for the work itself, I am doing the preparations and I am already serving the diners. This was a little stressful at first because my time to make the preparations decreased, but it was also exciting to be able to be "in the battlefield". I'm not going to lie, it has been exhausting. There are days when my whole body aches and I don't want to get out of bed, but overall I have been amazed at my stamina and my ability to work for so many hours. I have realized that I complain a lot. When there are no clients, I complain because I am bored and without clients time passes very slowly. And when there are many clients, I complain because there is too much work and I feel under pressure. Does this happen to you too? Now I'm always looking for the positive side of every situation. Few clients? I get to do something productive, deep clean, make preparations, etc. Too many customers? I appreciate the opportunity to test my learning and see how well I am flowing with myself and the team I belong to.  

Without a doubt, it has been a very valuable and learning journey. I am very grateful to Dimitris, Pedro, Grigoris and Sara for making me feel part of their team and all I can say to them is that, if you ever come to the beautiful city of Chania, come to Matzenta Kuzina del Sol. You will not regret it. I close this blog with photos about the city, to encourage you to come and see this wonder.

Happy vacations to all of you!

José Salum

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

International placement in Sant Marti de Tous, Spain.

Hi all, my name is Robbie Carroll. I am from Waterford Ireland, and I am writing to you from the beautiful place of Sant Marti de Tous just outside Barcelona. 

I am here as part of my studies. I arrived in Barcelona City on 25th February before making my way out to Saint Maiti de Tous on the 28th. 

Before then, I stayed in a hotel in La Rambla. The buzz and atmosphere along the Rambla which was full of life and excitement, so I checked in and set out to explore. 

La Rambla is a 1.2 km long street and is one of Barcelona’s main attractions. It was originally a sewage, filled streambed, usually dry, but an important drain for the heavy rainwater flowing from the hills during spring and autumn. 

My first place to visit was St Josep de la Boqueria. La Boqueria, is a large public market in the old city district of Barcelona and one of the city’s main tourist landmarks with an entrance from La Rambla. The wonderful and beautiful market that is a must for any visitor to Barcelona, with its grand iron gates entrance to the marked, as you walk around and take in the banquet of smells, colours and taste, the stall holders shouting to get your attention it is an experience to saviour. You will find food from of all varieties and from nationalities of the world under one roof. 

As you make your way around the stalls there is a selection of bars selling both food and drink, this gives you a choice to have lunch or a snack. From fresh squeezed juices to seafood, fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and olives, you could spend hours in this amazing place.  

For my placement, I have chosen a different path from working in a kitchen environment, as I wanted to experience the production side of organic farming, from farm to fork.  

A bit about how I got here, my placement is through WWOOF Spain a non-profit Association linking volunteers (WWOOFERS) with 289 active organic farmers and growers in Spain who are using organic methods in search of sustainability.

Worldwide opportunities on organic farms which is part of a Worldwide movement linking visitors with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange thereby helping to build a sustainable global community. 

By for now folks, my next blog report will be done from the farm. "Adios por ahara"...

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Welcome to Elephant Rock🐘

I am currently working at the Elephant Rock Hotel in Portrush. I decided to stay in the Coleraine area as I really enjoyed it for my university placement and there were friends I didn't want to say goodbye to just yet. The Elephant Rock Hotel is a new boutique hotel that opened at the start of February, so I am getting to see the progression of business from the ground up. 
My first day consisted of meeting all the staff and us getting to know each other while it was all hands on deck getting the hotel ready for opening day. A meeting was had between the chefs on what the menu would look like and a discussion about the delegation of responsibilities. I am running all things pastry in the kitchen which I was happy about as its what I want to specialise in coming back in 4th year.
When it comes to hours I am on a four day week contract on 10 to 12 hour shifts, we clock in at 11 and run through prep and service until close, which is dependable on what time out last table is booked in for. So I usually end up covering about 45 hours on average in a week. The shifts are long but our bosses are amazing with any days off you want is absolutely no issue. I usually get earlier on in the week off as all of my friends from uni are here for lectures so I still end up getting a taste of University life while also working full time.
Overall, I am really liking my experience in Portrush so far, it reminds me of home being so close to the sea and would highly recommend it as is the foodie hub of the North Coast, along with having many facilities and a good night life.
Until next time,

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

And That's a Wrap

 Hello Everyone!

Marshall here for the last time. I am writing this blog having just returned home from Belfast having finished my time working at the Grand Central Hotel. It is surreal to think that the life I so easily settled into is done and it was time for me to come home. What an experience!

I would like to thank the Executive Chef, Damian Tumilty and the rest of the staff of the Grand Central for giving me the opportunity to learn and develop as a chef while applying everything I studied into professional practice. I highly recommend the Grand Central Hotel to any student who is thinking about coming to Belfast for their Traineeship placement. Not only is the work highly fulfilling, the opportunity to live in the very middle of Belfast City centre is not to be overlooked.

Outside of just the work element, I am really going to miss the friends I have made. I'd like to thank Danny, Nick, Luke, Angelika and the rest of the Grand Central gang for the great memories and adventures we got up to both on and off the job. You really took me in and made sure I was comfortable and happy, made the Grand Central a home away from home. I will definitely be up for another Monday night trad session in Madden's!

Work Smart Not Hard

Hi everyone! Shannon here, I am just over the halfway point of my work experience and feeling great.

Even though it has only been a few weeks since my first blog entry, I personally feel like I have had a lot of growth over this period.

When you enter any job, the first few weeks are spent trying to find your feet. I was trying to remember exactly what I was thought to do and when it needed to be done. Whereas now, I am after finding my own flow and system in which I do things. 

Once an understanding is developed into the daily operations of the business, then you can allow yourself to critically evaluate exactly what you have been doing and reflect on how it can be improved in terms, for example in terms of efficiency. Work smart not hard. 

The first few weeks I had to deal with a high volume of work since there is  3-5 bakers on site at any time. I felt as if I didn’t have a second to spare and exhausted at the end of every shift. This is the difficult part of a new job, especially one you do not have previous experience in professionally, you are just trying to grasp what needs to be done. After I grasped what needs to be done, I was able to implement systems and techniques to save on time and energy yielding a cleaner looking end product and less product waste.

Thankfully now that I have gained a deeper knowledge and understanding into the daily operations of the bakery, I can really start to immerse myself in the experience and further develop my skills and knowledge.

I am looking forward to what lies ahead in the next few weeks with more responsibilities and opportunities to learn.

Below are some pictures of what I have been up to over the last few weeks. I can definitely see my work improving. 

That’s all for now,

Shannon :)