last year, i made a move back to land. I searched gumtree for a job in bristol, and almost immediately a job came up to work at wild beer co. They marketed themselves as a brewery interested in doing things wildly different. It seemed they were interested in exciting and underused ingredients, and needed a chef to open a restaurant for them. Almost too good to be true! I signed up.
The brief was simple. Open a restaurant in bristol where we could focus on wild food and pairing with the beer. Only there was one hitch. They had signed an agreement with a restaurant in London called Hook who did fish and chips! A dream come true... ha ha. Anyway, in good spirits, I thought why not. It could be fun and we would get to push the wild food and pairing it with the fab beers on the side. So off I went to london to train with Simon from hook. (Who incidentally, does make fantastic fish and chips!) Fast forward a few months, and we have a number of wild food dinners under our belts, mushroom and seaside foraging days, and working with the brewery and being involved with the beers. Certain beer pairing events, such as for Nogne O, and for the rainbow project were a lot of fun, and getting to be involved with the making of the lobster beer - oh my! See the slide show at the top for more detailed pictures.
The head chef had left at their other restaurant in cheltenham, and they asked me to act as head chef in both restaurants and oversee the whole food direction of the company - to become their executive chef. Things were going well. I was interviewed by crumbs mag in Bristol and created a recipe to go in a british chefs recipe book - it was all rather fun!
Sadly, budgets had to be cut which meant an end to the dinners, the foraging, and unfortunately the creativity. It was hoped that cutting costs and creativity weren't mutually exclusive, and that some happy compromise could be attained, but it all proved rather tricky and i was left out of pocket.
I don't ever regret an experience, and truly learned a lot along the way. Not just standard life lessons about the workplace and people, but a lot about beer and pairing this with the food, unlocking a real passion for beer which i will never look back from. Plus, I met some fabulous people along the way as well. I wondered at first, would i miss the potential to work towards my original goal with them, food with a little flair, paired with the beers, but then it hit me hard. I want to do that for myself - i want to work for myself, to show people what it is that i have to offer, what i've learned along the way.
I'm back on yachts, saving some pennies, seeing the world by boats, experiencing different cultures and food on the journey and i don't regret it one bit. What a fantastic lifestyle working on yachts can offer you, how much you can learn along the way, and cooking for all the different guests that pass through. Experimenting with food and new ingredients, and all the while, saving a tidy tax free salary for that end dream business. I can't say it's going too badly! Every day is different, and there is no office in sight! The people aren't too bad either :)