Category Archives: George’s awesome week of awesome

George’s awesome week of awesome III

This is the final part of the saga (for now) you can find the beginning here and the middle here if you want the full story :)

Your Awesome

Friday’s cookery practical class is all about pastry. No, not four hours of making pastry, but four hours of Pastry chef-ing that’s desserts to most folk or as I like to call it the demon class that will make me even fatter :)

Still my newly acquired knife skills were given a workout as we went though some training on chopping fruit and we also made some absolutely fantastic scones, of course there was more to it than simply the practical aspect. We also covered knife skills, general handling procedures, the uniform and why it is what it is and also hygiene practices, amongst a host of other things that I won’t bore you with.

All in all it’s been one of the busiest, most exciting, scary, thrilling and rewarding weeks of my professional life while simultaneously making me feel like a teenager and an old fogey all at the same time. It means I now have commitments to a path that I’m hoping will lead me into Culinary Arts in 2011 year as well as other commitments outside of college and I can see a very full and busy schedule ahead of me for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, I don’t see how I can fit everything I have to do into the time that is available. So something has to give. No this is not the bit where I say I’m giving up on this blog, but it is the bit where I say that I may not be posting as regularly in future due to other commitments.

Elly has already said that she intends to post more and I can see there being some crossover between what I’m studying and this blog so hopefully I will be able to adapt some of my college work where suitable to the blog format.

But enough of that, I feel the need to take a little time out here to thank a few people for helping me get this far. So, in no particular order…

Thank you to Kieran and Thea from Murphy’s Ice-cream. Thanks for not giving me a job (it truly was the best thing you could have done for me ;)) and reminding me of what confidence and a bit of neck can do for you when you really want something.

Thank you Ciaran in Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud for giving me a try in a kitchen I had no place being in (with my lack of skills) and giving me the chance to see what life in a fine dining kitchen is all about.

A huge thanks to John in CPLN Area Local Employment Service for being the only person I encountered in “the system” who seemed genuinely to care about the people he worked with, doing everything he could to reduce the live register by one, being so hell bent on getting me started in a new career and for helping me find and investigate all the options that were open to me. Our country needs more people like him.

My family and friends, you have all given so much of yourselves to help me over the last year I just don’t know where to begin in thanking you all, just know that I love and appreciate all of you for it and I will be looking for ways that I can return the favour.

And finally I want to thank Elly, my wife, my lover, my best friend, my reason to get up in the morning and my reason to go to bed at night, without your help and support I would never have had the belief in myself to even attempt this and I know that with you, I’m a better person than I ever could be without.

Wow, that sounds like the sycophantic ramblings of some overrated starlet receiving an Oscar but you know I’ve won a bigger prize than an Oscar… Opportunity, it doesn’t come knocking too often and when it does, it take hard work and determination to maximise it. A lot of people have helped me to get to where I am right now and I will do everything in my power to honour their efforts by giving this my all.

George’s awesome week of awesome II

This is part II of a three part series, Part I can be found here and part three will be published in the next few days

Awesome

Wednesday morning in the meeting hall, I was greeted by a room full of college staff and twenty-somethings. After a quick look around I grabbed a seat beside the only person in the room that I could see looked even remotely close to my age.

Induction began and I realised 3 things, that I’ve since learnt are all true…

  1. These people aren’t all on my course.
  2. Some of my lecturers could be younger than me.
  3. I’m probably going to be the oldest on my course.

After a while we were divided into groups by our courses and sent off trailing our course tutor, through the building and straight into a kitchen.

Thankfully we weren’t being chucked in the deep end too quickly, it was just an introduction to the room and to the course, what we could expect, what not to do and so on and so forth. Finally off we trundled to our first of two proper classes that day – Computer applications. Grand, some familiar territory to get things started with!

Next up, was French, very unfamiliar territory for me and thankfully about half of the rest of the group. Still, I’m already so far out of my comfort zone, at this point, it’s a wonder my brain hasn’t packed it’s little suitcase and made a dash for it out my nose leaving nothing but a “so long and thanks for all the fish” sign in it’s place and the thoughts of having to start learning a language, something I’ve never been great with, really weren’t helping.

Thankfully, Thursday’s classes, Communications, Tourism Awareness and Nutrition got me back into my comfort zone and set me up nicely for an afternoon of running around Dublin City centre, purchasing books, knives, chef’s uniform and other assorted bits ‘n’ pieces so I could actually take part in Friday’s four hour cookery practical session. But I’m getting ahead of myself here, let’s rewind to Thursday night.

A few weeks back Elly spotted a very reasonably priced knife skills course in Donnybrook Fair and I decided that I would like to do it, not for a minute thinking that I would be starting a hotel and catering course the same week. So after spending the afternoon shopping in Dublin and grabbing a bus home, I promptly dropped everything once in the door, drank two pints of water in quick succession, had a pee and ran out the back door, jumped in the car and headed to Donnybrook, thanks to lousy parking facilities I ended up walking about a kilometre to get to the class and being about ten minutes late, not a great start.

After making my apologies to both chef and class I grabbed a seat and realised that I hasn’t missed much past “this is a knife” :)

The class was great, starting off with how to use a steel to sharpen your knives, moving through some vegetable preparations, filleting a fish and even removing the carcass from a chicken, so you can pack more stuffing and flavour in. Given how good Elly’s Roast Chicken is and how much work is involved I don’t see myself doing that too often at home but it could be a handy skill to have for college and sure a little extra practice ain’t going to hurt.

George’s awesome week of awesome

Awesome

I’ve been tweeting on my personal Twitter account all week about the awesome week of awesome I’ve been having. It all started “coming up Milhouse” (as the kids are saying these days) on Monday last, but that’s not something I want to talk about here, let’s just say it was a pretty awesome day 😉

So Tuesday, I’m wandering round the house doing bits and bobs, tidying, cleaning, thinking about things to cook and write about on here, when the phone rings, I answer “Y’ello?”

“Hi George, are you free tomorrow?” Said the disembodied voice at the other end of the phone.

“I might be, erm… who is this?” I replied.

“Sorry, my name is (redacted) from (redacted) college. Would you be available tomorrow, to start the hotel and catering course you applied for?”

It was right about this moment my jaw connected with the floor. My first reaction was along the lines of “but, but, but…”

And then it sank in, the interview I thought had gone badly a few weeks ago had actually gone well enough to get me on to the top of the cancellation list.

I was in, after some discussion about the practical matters, no books, no knife roll, no uniform, I didn’t even have the equipment list. I was told to be in for induction on Wednesday morning.

This is the first of a three part series of posts please stay tuned over the coming days for more.