James, Chef de Partie, Pastry

James, Chef de Partie, Pastry

“I’ve worked in this company three times now, this is the third time, so I've obviously come back for a reason, it’s like home, I feel comfortable but challenged here, that's why I’m still here.”

“I moved to Cumbria a few years ago and worked within the company but I left and then I saw a job advertised for the Hotel. I was at a Hotel in the Lake District and it didn't really go as I wanted it to, it wasn’t quite what I expected, it wasn't the level I was expecting. I decided I needed to get my career back on track. Obviously I knew this company pretty well working here previously. So I thought I’d try the Hotel.

I start at 2 and finish at 10 at night. We prep for the first 3 or 4 hours, before a break before service. For me, generally I’ll be working on the pastry section, so I'll be just preparing the desserts menu, cakes for function, shortbread biscuits, brownies, all that kind of thing really. 

I like working with seasonal food. I’m pushing myself to be a better chef, that's why I’ve stayed here - I can see the level I’m working here is probably higher than most other places I’ve been at in Cumbria. I’ve probably enjoyed this the most, so I’ve stayed here for that reason.

If you really want to cook, then you shouldn't give up, because it's really hard to start with, especially if you’re going into cooking rather than the front of house side, I've done both. I did start front of house, and then I moved to the Kitchen. You shouldn't give up if it's really what you want to do, and you enjoy doing it.

I get to play a role in designing the dishes on the pastry menu alongside our Head Chef, I enjoy having an input in that and learning from Gary at the same time. We work hard to use seasonal ingredients which in summer is easy, you've got so many options to go at with all the seasonal fruits, and designing dishes with them - winters a bit more of a challenge, so yeah it's working alongside the Head Chef and designing the pastry menu that’s my favourite.

It’s good in terms of other places you can work in catering, it's really good in terms of structure of the shift. You know what you’re working, you get your rota at least a week in advance in our Kitchen, so you know, you can plan, and we dont work split shifts. If you need a day off, you can write in the diary or speak to the Head Chef to arrange something. Sometimes in Catering you can't have a life at all, you can't really plan to do anything, so here it's a lot different so you can actually plan to do things, appointments, whatever you need, so that's a big plus.”