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

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 5th March 2015

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.

15th DecemberPic 1

Well it's been a busy couple of weeks the Christmas festival was a great success, we certainly had a lot of people visiting Padstow over the weekend. There were plenty of chef demonstrations on, we had two demonstrations in our little family, with an incredible turnout for Paul and Rojano's in the Square head chef Paul Dodd. Paul and our head chef John had an awesome turnout for their demonstration too. The collaboration went amazingly well, it was so much fun for everyone involved and we got some great feedback! We brought a few lovely dishes to the menu.

Paul Dodd's main course was a beautiful rib eye steak with a smoked mushroom duxelle, seared braised shallots, roasted bone marrow crispy shallots and a red wine sauce. Paul Ainsworth's cheese course was a moreish blue stilton with wafer thin sour dough croutons, Bramley apple purée and steeped blueberries. John Walton's amazing course was tiramisu tart, a dark chocolate pastry case, chocolate torte, coffee and Tia Maria soaked sponge, Marsala wine and coffee cream and yogurt sorbet with lime. pic 2

11th January

Closing day, deep clean and get ready for our closure. We’re saying goodbye to a couple members of staff from the kitchen one of which has been with us for the past 3 years, we wish him the best of luck in his next culinary adventure which he is very excited about, starting at Dinner by Heston in February! I'll be going to Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham for a week stage absolutely buzzing! See you in a few weeks number 6.

2nd February

Back to work after the three week closure in January and there's been a few changes. We've had the interior of the restaurant repainted and a new floor in the kitchen, it looks great! The whole place feels more open and airy, there's also some new decor including one of Paul's current favourites, a lady with a dress and a background of crushed black glass all merged into one, love it.

15th February

We've had a few dish changes that are seriously exciting: On the starters we now have a rich short rib ragu with seaweed and a turnip tagliatelle, dressed with crispy seaweed and a mixture of black truffle and 36 month aged parmesan; the savoury dancing with the sweet is sooo good!pic 3 On the mains we have evolution on the pork dish: bathed and blow torched pork loin, a soft interior pork jowl with a crispy caramelised exterior, roasted cauliflower, cauliflower purée, with a seasoning of smoked eel and sourdough croutons served with an orchard sauce and crispy crackling wheel.

An amazing combination of lean and fatty meats, mouth-watering goodness. There is a dish of chicken breast roasted in foaming butter with January king cabbage, Jerusalem artichoke purée and crisps, sliced black truffle, a faggot and an albufera sauce, turning what some might consider an ordinary meat into something exceptional.

The cod dish has been revamped, baked in a mild curry seasoning and beurre noisette, served with sweet crab, picked in-house and mixed with lime, soft chargrilled leeks, oyster mayonnaise, squid ink mayonnaise, crispy cod skin and a full flavoured crab sauce. I hadn't had squid ink many times before now but it is just delicious in this mayonnaise, and it’s heavenly eating this whole dish together.

On the desserts the tiramisu tart from the collaboration night described above has gone on our menu, I'm not a big fan of coffee desserts, always a bit too much sugar added for me, but whenever we have a coffee dessert on, I love it! pic 5Our new cheese course, Barkham blue with a port reduction and a no6 pasty, inspired by Paul's dad having Eccles cake and cheese when Paul was a boy. The sweet fruit filling and port reduction goes incredibly well with the cheese I could eat several of these! Now for the fairground, complete change here and I can't describe how much fun this is and at the same time all about seriously good flavour combinations!

Aerated caramel milk chocolate with honey as our "honeycomb", cassis marshmallow with crispy yogurt and chocolate popping candy, light and fluffy but full of flavour that just bursts. Fresh yeast based doughnuts with lime curd, and a glass of goodness containing from bottom to top: warm apple and pineapple compote, walnut crumble, coconut cream, walnut crumble again, spiced caramel popcorn and roasted peanuts. This new fairground is so moreish and has been taken to a whole other level.

2nd March

We're off to visit where Tregothnan tea is produced today should be a nice outing for the number 6 team!Camilla-Waite

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. Read her other blogs here:

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 5th March 2015

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