Me and the Seventies learning to
cook Chef Mike Darracott
When I left school more years ago then I would care to recall, I first worked in a well-known supermarket. I worked on the provisions counter, cutting, and preparing all the cold meats, I loved the job. After a while, the manager ask me if I would like to be in charge of roasting the fresh chickens, of which was done on spits in a large oven. I took the position, and was soon roasting around 30 to 40 chickens a day, in full view of the public.
After about 3 months of this, the initial interest started to waiver, because of the fact, at the end of each day, I had gallons of chicken fat to clean out of the oven. Quite a job, and a lot of mess, I smelt of chicken, and was glad each day to get back home and take a shower.
One day, while reading the local newspaper, I noticed a job, it was for a dishwasher, and kitchen pot cleaner, I applied, and was soon in this very busy Hotel working shifts. The money was way better because of more hours. One day the head chef came up to me, and said that his pots were very clean, and thanked me for taking the time to make them that way.
He asked me if I had plans with my life beyond dishwashing, I said that I had just come from working with meat and poultry, and was kind of interested in catering, providing it was not a career in chicken spit cooking. :)
He said that he would be happy to teach me if I was willing to learn, so within a few weeks, I was now a commis chef or a basic chef, my duties were food preparation work, with fruit & vegetables, and I was taught how to make bread and other bakery goods.
I found that I loved bakery and dessert making above all else, so was always happy if I was called upon to make anything within these groups. You will find over the coming months many dessert recipes to try on my site, after a while working here, I decide I wished to broaden my skills as a chef, and moved on.
I arrived at the World famous Lobster Pot Hotel in Mousehole Cornwall England, it was the early seventies, and this was one of the main Hotels for the rich famous and celebrities. My position was a Breakfast chef in charge and assistant chef in the evening.
The head chef once again saw that I was a hard worker, and he suggested that I should go on a block release to catering college. I took him up on it, and soon was working and going to college; it took a lot of time and work.
I was 5 days a week at college, and working 6 hours a night at the Lobster pot Hotel; I would finish at college, and go straight to work in Mousehole. I had to get up at 6.30 am to go to college, and then arrive at work around 5.45 pm, and by the time I got home it was always midnight, so bath and then bed. By day I was studying at college, cooking in the college kitchen, and then in the classrooms to learn culinary French, and other aspects of cooking.
I was also being released as part of my course, to work in local bakeries, butchers, to further learn about catering. After my course ended I went back to working days, and evenings at the Lobster pot. I among other chefs at the hotel prepared food for David Bowie, John Wayne, and Dame Judy Dench, and Richard Briers among just a few of the celebs we cooked for.
I will continue my story with regards to my catering career in other blogs, so once again thanks for coming to my site, I hope you enjoy the recipes and information here.
Chef Mike Darracott