We work closely with our local suppliers who provide us with their wonderful seasonal produce for our daily changing menus. Last year we introduced off-site training as an important part of the apprentice’s progress and development, where they learn about the provenance of the ingredients we use in the kitchen and understand the way they are produced by getting involved in the process.
Apprentice off-site training – Padstow Kitchen Garden
Ross Geach is an ex head chef who previously worked for over ten years at Rick Stein’s restaurants in Padstow. In 2007 he set up Padstow Kitchen Garden on the family farm and has been supplying salad and vegetables to the finest restaurants in Cornwall ever since. Ross’ previous experience of working in kitchens from a young age makes him a great person to work with our apprentices, as he understands the environment they’re working in, along with the pressure they’re under from working in a busy restaurant with high expectations.
This week Kelsie has been working with Ross at the farm. As the weather has been so hot, the first day was predominately spent ensuring that all the plants were watered. However today, she has been harvesting potatoes and courgette flowers and planting chard seeds into trays. Each tray holds 150 seeds and takes about a week to germinate. They spend six to eight weeks in the trays and are then planted outside in the field for a further eight weeks before they are ready to harvest.
Kelsie said that before working at the farm, she didn’t realise how much work and effort went into growing and nurturing the produce. It has given her a new appreciation and respect for the ingredients she’ll be using in the kitchen.
In a few weeks time the apprentices will gather again at the farm to harvest the crops they have helped to grow and hopefully they will all have benefitted from a greater understanding of the provenance and quality of the raw materials they work with.
Ross offers veg gardening courses for anyone wishing to learn how to grow their own. Information and course dates can be found on his website www.padstowkitchengarden.co.uk