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A Day in the Life of a Head Chef at Thornton Hall Hotel & Spa

10am: I arrive to the kitchen at around 10am, greet my team of chefs and grab a coffee. I like to know I will be on top form throughout the day and a hit of caffeine always helps with that! I then check the function sheets for the day and like to spend a few hours prepping any food that I know needs to go out for the early morning functions that we will be having in the Lawns Restaurant. It is so important to me to create a menu that is based around seasonality to ensure the best possible flavours go into each dish.

12pm: From midday it’s all systems go as tables start to fill up in the Lawns Restaurant and orders roll in. As Head Chef, I oversee the service, plate up the mains and I am responsible for checking the food right before it goes out. I like to make sure each dish that we present shows that we have carefully chosen the ingredients and designed it using a mix of classical and modern techniques.

3pm: Around 3pm there is always a slight lull as lunch service ends. This is when I tend to tell my team to have a break and get some fresh air – I prefer not to take breaks myself as once I am in the zone, it just seems a lot easier if I keep going until all jobs are done. We like to treat our guests to a culinary experience through our love for fine food and that is always in the forefront of my mind. Around 4pm, we will then all roll our sleeves up and get stuck into post-lunch service cleaning and dinner preparation. The dinner service is often the busiest time of the day, so we must make sure everything is ready to go before it starts.

5.30pm: Things start to take off again! The dinner crowd arrive, and this tends to be the busiest time for us in the kitchen and restaurant. My duties during this period can be compared to a conductor leading an orchestra – I am literally rushed off my feet because of the hive of activity that is coming from the restaurant!

7pm: With the dinner service in full flow, it is always so important to stay focused and alert. If there is one thing that being a chef has taught me, it is how to remain calm under pressure. There is something quite enjoyable about the sound of clinking knives and forks and the buzz of enjoyment coming from the restaurant. It makes me feel proud to have the job I have.  

11pm: By 11pm I have been on my feet for 13 hours and it is time to start the cleaning process and the next days’ preparation. If it is a Saturday, we will leave the oven on overnight to slow-roast meats ready for our Sunday Lunch. I can’t leave yet though – I must make sure everything has been cleaned away and the orders have been calculated for the day, before I can even think about my bed!

12am: I usually leave the kitchen around midnight and head home. Being a chef is an exhausting but rewarding job. There aren’t many jobs where you get to see the results of your work immediately! In my eyes, it is not just a career, it is a passion and I hope everyone that dines with us at the Lawns shares our enthusiasm for great food.

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