Adel Gumerov undertook his internship at Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant, The Fat Duck, after completing the Grand Diplôme®, and before starting the Diploma in Culinary Management. Recent graduate Adel, took some time out to speak to us about his experience on the Internship Pathway and about what it was like to work in a three Michelin-starred kitchen.
1. Why did you choose to take the internship pathway?
I decided to take the internship pathway because I did not have any prior professional kitchen experience so it seemed like a good idea to use Le Cordon Bleu’s professional network to establish a good starting point in my career.
2. What do you think were the advantages of the programme for you and your future career?
If I was looking to take up employment as a chef it would be a great addition to my CV, but as I am planning to start my own business now that I’ve graduated, it is more the experience of working in a well-organised kitchen that is most useful for me and my career goals. The professional and organisational practices that I had a chance to observe during my internship can be used anywhere, and not just in an upmarket establishment.
3. How did you find working in a 3 Michelin-star restaurant?
It was very hard work, but that is probably the same as everywhere else in the industry. I think that the reward from having experienced working in a place like The Fat Duck, which sets the highest standards for everything that it does, is that it will certainly make it easier for me to work at any other good establishment. I also have a much better understanding of how a kitchen needs to be organised, which I can definitely put to use when starting my own business.
4. What did you most enjoy about your time on the internship pathway?
During my time on the internship pathway I had the chance to work in all of the different sections of The Fat Duck kitchen and I also got to work in two other restaurants within the group located nearby, which were The Crown and The Hinds Head. I think it was quite a diverse experience for a relatively short period of time, which I really enjoyed. There was a lot of routine work, but having the chance to see a few different places gave me a much better perspective. There are a lot of things that are organised differently, even between restaurants belonging to the same group.
I definitely feel much more confident about working in a professional kitchen after completing my internship.
5. What was the biggest challenge?
Hands down the biggest challenge was the amount of time that you need to dedicate to work. I guess it was good practice as long hours are common in the world of hospitality. For me it was even more difficult as I had to drive to Bray in Berkshire from London and back every day.
6. Now that you have completed your internship how confident do you feel about entering a professional kitchen?
I definitely feel much more confident about working in a professional kitchen after completing my internship as now I can see that the standards to which we were trained at Le Cordon Bleu London are high enough for even the best restaurants in the industry.
7. Would you recommend the internship pathway to others, and if so why?
I would definitely recommend the internship pathway to those who, like myself prior to the programme, do not have any professional kitchen experience or networks within the industry.
In terms of confidence, obviously working in a real life kitchen environment is more valuable than just learning in an educational environment. It is ideal to have a good blend of the two, and the internship pathway provides this. The best part of the process is that Le Cordon Bleu does the initial talks with the place where you want to work, which makes it a lot easier for when you go for your interview.
8. Can you sum up the internship programme in one sentence?
It is literally the same as a real job, but you have the additional support from a Le Cordon Bleu coordinator to help you choose which internship is best suited to you and your career goals, and also to provide extra guidance if needed.
9. What are your plans for the future?
I am planning to set up a small artisan bakery in London, specializing in sourdough and Nordic breads. One of the features that I plan on doing is making the baking area, and as many processes as possible visible, to the customers from the outside.
About Le Cordon Bleu London's Internship Pathway
Le Cordon Bleu London recently introduced an Internship Pathway, which is an additional programme that can be taken in conjunction with one of the 9-month Culinary Arts Diplomas, the 6-month Diploma in Wine, Gastronomy and Management, or a 12-month Culinary Arts and Business programme.
The course has been designed to provide you with experience of working in a high-end professional environment as part of your training, as well as providing you with continuous support, performance feedback, and extra classes that will help you to develop your CV, covering letter, application and interview skills.