Dear diary: the reflections of a chef de partie working in a Michelin-starred kitchen

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 5th June 2014
This is the latest in a series of quarterly diary extracts from Camilla Waite, a young chef de partie at Michelin-starred Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 in Padstow.  March 13th Camilla-02The whole front of house team visited Porthilly Oyster Farm today to see the beds where our oysters are grown. Tim Marshall the owner explained to them about roughing the shells and how it encourages growth. He also showed them how to shuck the oysters, then it was back to Number 6 for a tasting of the final dish - lucky bunch. March 18th I’m off to Watergate Bay for the Spring Farmer’s Market. Paul is demonstrating a monkfish dish with caramelised marrow fat peas, cabbage, bacon and potatoes.  Truly moreish. April 2nd We’re working with Lincolnshire Poacher to produce our own butter. It’s made fresh in the traditional fashion using a recipe created especially for Number 6 using Cornish Sea Salt. The taste will change slightly with the seasons due to the varying flavour of the curd. Camilla-01 April 13th We’re having a spruce up at the restaurant. We’ve had a re-paint and a beautiful new front door made from Iroko wood by Mat Golay from Treescape with oil rubbed bronze fittings. We’ve also got new hand blown glass candle holders and a gorgeous new mirror from Jo Downs just a few doors away. We’ve also got an array of hanging candle lanterns that have been collected by Mrs Ainsworth which are all different shapes and sizes. April 17th There have been a couple of television appearances for Paul over the past couple of weeks which we are all very excited about. On the 12th Paul was on Saturday Kitchen doing the omelette challenge. Paul did his in 26 seconds and it looked pretty good. The dish he demonstrated was a Camilla-06 lovely aromatic dish of mussels with chilli, lime leaves, fresh and pickled ginger, shallots, palm sugar, lemon grass and coconut milk, served with chargrilled sourdough drizzled with olive oil - heaven! Then on the 16th Paul was on Spring Kitchen with his friend Tom Kerridge. Paul demonstrated a lovely steak and salad dish. The steak was sourced from our butchers, Phillip Warrens in Launceston, north Cornwall and served with an oyster mayonnaise and a spring salad of peas, broad beans, radishes and radish leaves from our vegetable supplier Ross Geach at Padstow Kitchen Garden. Our sister restaurant Rojano’s in the Square will be doing this steak dish as a special now and again so you can have a chance for a taste.  April 27th Asparagus, radishes, nasturtiums, peas, broad beans, borage flowers and nasturtium flowers have all started coming through the doors. The asparagus is from across the estuary at St Enodoc and the rest is from Ross. We are very lucky to be able to get such beautiful produce so easily. May 1st It’s May Day in Padstow. A traditional pagan festival where the whole of Padstow gathers togetherCamilla-04 to celebrate. This is the first year we are open on May Day for dinner. Our head chef John is Padstow born and bred so is off for a few days. May 10th We’ve had some of the UK’s top food bloggers in this week, four of them on the same table. We’ve had a couple of reviews from them already and are overwhelmed with the kind words from @foodurchin and @cheesenbiscuits. May 12th We’re off to Eat Drink Bristol Fashion serving 85 people. We’re giving them the Number 6 experience starting with a lovely crusty sourdough with our specially made butter, whipped cods roe and pork crackling, Next a crispy Porthilly oyster on a bed of apple and fennel salad in a lime dressing, topped with a thin slice of salami. A real flavour sensation! Onto salmon tartare with Asian flavours finished with crisp spring onion, red chicory, cucumber and radish. Camilla-05The main course is caramelised pork belly, pickled carrot and purred carrot, lardo and pedro ximénez. Pre-dessert of vanilla panna cotta, strawberries, roasted hazelnuts and atsina cress. And for the finale: bread and butter pudding with vanilla ice cream and Innis & Gunn beer brewed in whisky barrels. We gave out goody bags with homemade chocolates and menus from Number 6 and Rojano’s. We all had a great time and Paul was very pleased with how it went. May 20th Our artisan flower supplier has been doing some wonderful displays that seem to get better every time. They really add life and colour to the entrance of the restaurant. The flower display is changed every other week with the freshest flowers that really last, even in the warmth of the restaurant. May 30th We’re going to be having a few dish updates soon which is very exciting. I can’t wait to tell you all about them next time. Camilla-Waite-small   Camilla Waite has been a key member of the team at Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 for two years, working her way up to chef de partie. When she's not cooking up a storm, Camilla enjoys seeking adrenaline rushes, whether it’s trekking across Nepal or sky diving to raise money for Cornwall Hospice.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 5th June 2014

Dear diary: the reflections of a chef de partie working in a Michelin-starred kitchen