What made you want to study cuisine?
Cuisine has always been a big part of my life; my mother was a chef and is now an artisanal cheesemaker, my father produced olive oil and my stepfather owns and operates a mussel farm as well as a seafood distribution business. However, it was only after a few years of working in Finance that I realised a burning passion was calling me from the inside... So I decided to take a risk and head to Paris in search of answers.
What is your favourite memory from your adventure at Le Cordon Bleu Institute in Paris?
My Favourite memory at Le Cordon Bleu would be the ateliers that we did for Superior Cuisine. Working close with the Chefs had always been a magnificent experience but to have the opportunity to design dishes, develop your own personality and have a detailed review and guidance from top Chefs during this experience was amazing.
Could you tell us briefly about your career path?
I made the mistake of designing my career path too early in my previous career of Finance. All I can say right now is that in order to find and develop my own cuisine identity, I need to travel and learn. The next 5 or so years are going to take me around in the world in search of this experience. After this point, I will have to find the best way to express my identity.
Where are you doing your internship now? Could you tell us more about this?
I am currently doing my internship at Guy Savoy in Paris, a 3 Michelin star restaurant. I have only completed a week of the internship but due to staff turnover, I have been given responsibility for mise en place and service for the hot entrée section. It has been an extremely difficult but extremely rewarding experience. The work is hard and the quality expectations are huge but everyone in the kitchen is a close team and we all suffer and learn together. There is no better feeling than finishing a service and knowing that you were at the top of your game and that you are making progress.
Could you describe your new life in Paris?
Well it has been one year so far and it has gone beautifully. Paris has its quirks and people say that it is difficult to meet people, but I have not found that. It is important to make a proper attempt to learn the language and to experience local areas of the city. Keeping yourself stuck in any one neighborhood for too long will give you a polarized view of what life in Paris is like. I live in the 20th arrondissement, a young, immigrant heavy, artsy and local area of Paris. I have found it much easier to find local friends than other friends of mine who have lived in more one dimensional touristy areas of the city.
The thing I love the most here is simple... Specialty products. I go to 5 different stores to do my grocery shopping because each one has their own amazing products. Extend that to my local market, and I could end up going on a fantasy journey of shopping every day.
What advice would you give to future cuisiniers students?
Look at the bigger picture – Throughout cuisine, you will do a lot of tedious tasks and learn a lot of very specific information. My advice would be to open your mind to understand where this information or these tedious tasks fit into the bigger picture. For example, if you are given a tedious task such as cleaning mushrooms or turning artichokes, make sure that you ask and understand how the restaurant will use these ingredients, what will the final product be, how does my job impact this final product. Interpreting this information with an open mind will help motivate you and will also ensure that you are learning about the overall process rather than just focusing on your task and nothing else.
What are your plans for the future?
First thing is first – finish the stage and hopefully develop a good reputation within the restaurant. At this point I am not so sure... If I was given the chance to extend my stay at Guy Savoy, I would find it hard to turn down. However, in the next 1-2 years I expect to be re-locating to Berlin or to Tokyo in search of the next chapter in my development.