The picture to the left tells a lot, it’s everything I love in one picture. Hannah goes without saying, the Mermaid Inn, our blue and white van, Porth beach and if you look all the way to the back is the Compass Rose cafe. A place of training in many ways.
Even though I had been practicing Taekwondo for a while, I was still an aggressive person when pushed and it didn’t need much pushing, I would still choose to pick fights if I was out on the town, I still had a lot to learn for sure.
It was a major relief to get away from the mundane slog of the factory life, it was also a risk as the job paid well and was secure, but it was a risk I was prepared to take. I believe that in certain points in all our lives we have to take risks to get ahead and to better ourselves, not for others but for ourselves and the people we love. The risk of going to work with master Davies was for a couple of things. Would I be able to take instructions under pressure without getting angry? Would it destroy our growing relationship and heck(!) would I even like it?
(picture to the right are my closest Taekwondo family out at The Maharaja, although, all Taekwondo family are close.)
I was very lucky to have a teacher and friend in Robin Davies and the Davies family. They let me into their lives and shaped me. Working in the Compass Rose Cafe was different, well for me at the time it was. They used to have people queuing for miles to get hold of the breakfast in the morning. It was amazingly popular, you don’t see queues
like that anywhere unless you travel to London, it shows you what a crafts man and chef Sir really is. I think for a chef, to see the dedication that goes into the food from all members of the family, is inspiring. For me it was a baptism into the world of catering, fast paced, attention to detail and the love for the products you are preparing, something lacking in the industry today. It was taught knife skills, veg prep, time management and cleanliness, valuable assets in the industry. Lots of other things happened at the Compass Rose and the Dojang above but since I’m trying to get to a point I’ll leave that for another time.
The season was at an end, it was time to take the next move in my journey. Unfortunately I didn’t know what that was. Hannah had just fallen pregnant with Maxim and we needed to move sharpish. We ended up moving to St Eval near Mawgan Porth Cornwall. I needed to find work, the local hotel was The Tredragon Hotel and they didn’t have any chefs jobs at the time. So, I took a job as kitchen porter, but a bloody good kitchen porter, let me tell you. The kitchen had 3 chefs at the time, a head chef and a third chef. I so wanted to be a chef but didn’t think it was going to happen at Tredragon. Until, one day the 3rd chef was having difficulty making instant custard (the third chef did all the desserts and the salad prep)! Well, here was my chance to show that I had a bit of knowledge about cooking. Lucikly for me I had used instant custard a number of time at home (not difficult, or so you would have thought) I showed the chef how to do this with the greatest of ease, it did it in a swift and confident manor, this in turn impressed the head chef. Not simply because of the Instant custard making ability’s but because I was also a sharp kitchen porter, he decided to give me my chance in the kitchen!!! (bingo!!). Unfortunately the 3rd chef was sacked but fortunately for me I got his job. This was the real beginning into pastry. Back then I was thrown into the deep end, 10 desserts (dessert trolley, it got massacred every dinner time) plus 6 different salads. This amount was mental and was difficult for any chef let alone a beginner. I needed to learn more about the industry, it was time to start college, St Austell College one day a week alongside work. Here I could learn my level 1 and 2 in kitchen larder, before I knew it they wanted me in their prospectus; haha, destined for stardom! Here is where I felt at home and finished my year with merits, but that wasn’t enough, I needed more! Camborne College was next on my hit list and pastry was my first choice, shit was getting real!!!!
Again at this point I have a few more words to say. There have been so many people in my life who I hold dearly as close friends, there for whenever I need them and whenever they need me. To all these people I will talk about later after I have caught up the pastry side of things. People from Chaddesden, Allestree, Normanton, Derby and Heanor, big love to all and keep watching x
Below are some pictures of these times and of the close friends in Cornwall who helped us survive in that little tent when we first moved down.