Our English Lakes Culinary Academy is going from strength to strength.
A second cohort of budding young Chefs are already into their first year of learning. To celebrate the success of the apprenticeship and to showcase the skills of our three second year Chefs, Ashley, Matt and Jack, will be hosting a Blue Smoke on the Bay event on 25th February. They are taking over the kitchen and serving up a sumptuous three course meal fit to make their mentors proud. Find out more about the evening and how you can book your place for this special event here.
Second cohort of young Culinary Academy chefs starting their career in the kitchen
A Year in English Lakes Culinary Academy
Matt Lemm, one of the young pioneers of our Culinary Academy reflects on a year in the kitchen and the classroom.
Matt hard at work in the Blue Smoke on the Bay kitchen
Welcomed as Part of the Family
Matt: Low Wood Bay can only be described as family. To have the privilege of learning there was an experience that can’t be matched. Lessons I learnt varied from simple skills like vegetable prep to complex skills like sending weddings of 200, or prepping a whole sirloin on the bone.
Under the watchful eye of Resort Chef, Marc Sanders
Resort Chef, Marc Sanders, and the rest of the kitchen team, always made me feel that any question I asked wasn’t a stupid one, but a question that was worth asking. That was always a great feeling. Any time I had my confidence knocked they were always there to pick me up and, if I did mess up, they always went through it with me so that I knew what to do next time
Lessons in Life, as well as Cookery
Matt: When Blue Smoke opened, I was moved there to continue my learning under Chef Tyrone. I had already worked with him in the main Low Wood Bay kitchen when he was sous chef. I learnt a lot from him during my time at Blue Smoke. This went beyond practical skills. He taught me lots about having a good mental attitude. Previously, I tended to panic when I had a lot of checks on. If you have ever have the chance to work with this man you will see he is the most relaxed, chilled out chef you will ever meet! It didn’t seem to matter how many checks he had on, he never seemed rushed.
Chef Tyrone, the calmest chef in the kitchen
Chef taught me that you can’t make food cook faster than it can cook. If you try, you compromise the quality of the food. The lesson is always to take your time and make sure everything that leaves the kitchen is of the highest quality. That way, the customers forget the wait for the food. When the food is that good, waiting doesn’t matter so much.
Learning from the Best
Matt: When I wasn’t learning at Low Wood Bay, I was at college learning from Chef Steven Doherty. The opportunity to learn from him was why applied to be on the apprenticeship. He taught two ways of doing everything we learnt with him - the modern way and traditional way of doing it. This is important because in any high end job I apply for in the future I could be asked either of way of doing something, e.g. like breaking down a whole chicken. Having that knowledge means I would have an advantage over others.
A selection of the food served at Blue Smoke on the Bay
Matt: Also, the stories he has from his experience as 3 Michelin star chef, and as chef at our level, and all stages in between, is amazing. They vary from how times have changed in the culinary world, to the friendly competition he used to have to see who could make the fastest omelette, and stories of the amazing people he has worked with.
I mentioned at the beginning how Low Wood Bay is family. This because there is a feeling around the place that makes you feel included. It’s incredible to create an atmosphere like that it in a big resort such as Low Wood Bay. Since I left for The Midland, I still see people I worked with at Low Wood Bay as I made true friends. From day one I always seemed welcome, and never a hindrance, which I know can happen to apprentices in other places.
Steven Doherty, Simon Berry (English Lakes managing director), Marc Sanders (Resort chef) in the kitchen with the apprentice chefs
Book Your Place at The Table
The kitchen takeover on 25th February will start with canapés and Prosecco at 6.30 pm before being seated for dinner. The dinner will be cooked completely by our fantastic chefs, with Steven Doherty overseeing the evening to make sure our guests have the best evening. You are warmly invited to book a table for this celebratory event and support our young chefs, by calling 015394 33338 to book a table.
Steven Doherty comments…
"It’s been a wonderful and privileged journey for myself and the English Lakes apprentices.This is a watershed moment for all concerned and should pave the way for future recruitment and meaningful training.
With the new work based training and accreditation it should create both a platform for English Lakes kitchens and the apprentices themselves. Who knows what stars of the future we may have helped to create within English Lakes?"