Christmas is Coming!

There’s a lot of buzz around the kitchen at the moment concerning the Taste of London food festival…

Throughout the year I like to head off to a handful of food festivals and restaurants in order to get the measure of the current restaurant scene and pinch a few ideas for my menus.

The food industry is not one where you can afford to take a breather, there’s always a back current of competition brewing that keeps you striving to do better each day. In order for your restaurant to succeed, as well as your own career, you need to be constantly learning and seeking out new skills.

Within my own pub, regardless of being in charge of a full kitchen team, I’m required to constantly be on top of my own game. I need to prove every day that I’m the head chef for a reason, that my standard is higher than everyone else’s and there is a reason why I’m in charge of my own kitchen. This doesn’t come in the form of grandstanding or putting others down, but simply in the upholding of the standards that our pub lives and works by. By keeping these standards as high as possible, we’re in the best position to compete with other restaurants and pubs, who might seek to muscle in on our would-be customers.

The best way to stay on top of our collective games as chefs is to constantly spur each other on through friendly competition and to seek out new food experiences to expand our horizons as cooks and food lovers. Food festivals are perfect places to find inspiration for menus and to give young chefs a chance to see the very best of the best in action – they also serve beer there which is a bonus!

With the Christmas season fast approaching, I can already feel tensions in the kitchen start to rise.

The festive period is far and away the busiest for us here at the pub and as much as we all love the business, it can often take a bit of a toll on us as a team. The busier the pub gets, the bigger the workload is for each and every one of us.

As Head Chef I have to ensure that we have enough staff on to cope with the deluge of checks. The chefs beneath me have to adapt to work at a faster pace and make sure that their sous chefs are up to scratch on their own skills. The same applies to the bar tenders, waiting staff, the cleaners and even the pot washers (who have taken professional oven cleaning courses to get ready for the inevitable mess that Christmas always brings).

The extra custom we receive over the Christmas season is vital for the business and everyone’s aware that the good will that we pick up through our hard work in November and December will serve to aid the business we get in the following year.

That’s why each and every member of staff will be heading to the Taste of London Winter food festival this November; the festival takes place between the 16th-19th, which means that we can send teams of staff away on each day, allowing everyone to take a breather and enjoy a fun day out.

We might be in a state of constant competition, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t let our hair down from time to time.