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

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th June 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. 

It's been a busy few months with spring coming in and all that's going on in the business so I've tried not to babble too much!dish one

7th of March

Paul and our restaurant manager Alex have been on the radio! Pirate 2 have a food and drink show and they came in to see us here at Number 6! They were in the kitchen too while we were doing lunch service, I hope they enjoyed seeing us do our thing! Paul did up a couple of dishes for them and the show was broadcasted just a couple of days ago; we listened to it as a team in the kitchen and I think they did such a good job – I’m so proud of our little family! You can listen back to the show on the Pirate 2 website, hope you enjoy it!

20th March

As spring is coming so are a few dish changes, doing some practises and tweaks here and there. Paul and James MartinThe cod dish is being updated, slow baked in beurre noisette again however the garnish has changed a little: batons of kohlrabi pickled with saffron and cooked at 85c so it still has a lovely crunch. Nestled in between the kohlrabi is fresh cold crab, lightly seasoned with lime juice and zest, salt and chervil; very light but full of flavour. It’s served with an oyster and saffron mayonnaise, intense crab sauce made from the roasted shells and some crispy sea lettuce that has a beautiful earthy flavour and reminds me of truffle.

25th March

The Cornish venison has changed over to Cornish hogget, with lamb bouncing around the fields surrounding Padstow what better time to have a change, however Paul and John believe that hogget has a fuller flavour and prefer it to the lamb available right now as it is so early in the season. The garnish of salt baked celeriac, celeriac purée and red wine garlic purée have stayed however the sausage roll is now a lamb merguez roll; amazing flavours coming from this mouthful of goodness. It’s a North African recipe which changes in recipe from place to place. The recipe we use is brought to us by our sous chef Chris and is flavoured with smoked paprika, Harissa and toasted spices such as coriander seed, cumin seed and fennel seed, I've even made a batch at home!Paul Ainsworth

5th April

Saturday Kitchen time! Paul was on the show today, he's a tough cookie as he left work after service and drove straight to London on Friday night, then back down straight after the show for dinner service on Saturday. We were all so excited to hear that Paul had made the best time on the omelette challenge, well done! Paul demonstrated Cornish hake baked in beurre noisette, served with a spring minestrone with fennel, celery, tomatoes, radishes, peas and spaghetti flavoured with lemon zest and basil; this dish smelt amazing in the testers and we now have a more refined version on our lunch menu with homemade pasta bows instead and it is currently served with pork cheeks, lardo and pork crackling – delicious.

18th April

pastaThe mackerel is being changed! I've been here for three years and this dish has never changed so this is a big deal as though part of the family is leaving but the dish replacing it is just as amazing. Our kimchi - in the bowl pickled cabbage mixed with brown shrimps, blanched red and green chillies, chervil, lime juice and seasoned with chopped seaweed. It is so refreshing and moreish, served with anchovy mayonnaise, raw scallops thinly sliced and lightly pickled with a ceviche dressing and lime finely grated over the top, finished with Cornish sea salt and coriander oil.

25th April

Lunch starter is changing - been doing testers recently, cured salmon with mash potato (just enough to bind), spring onions, chilli, chervil and chives, formed into a ball and deep fried until golden and crisp, served with a smoked butter and seaweed sauce; so simple but packed full of flavours that dance in your mouth.

2nd Maydish 2

We've got the first of our new petit four dishes, beautiful hand crafted beechwood all different shapes- they’re just stunning. Filled with toasted malt grains we serve our passion fruit and white chocolate fudge and caramelised orange and dark chocolate truffles, I enjoy eating the trimmings when these bad boys are being made!

16th May

Today our restaurant manager Alex is getting married to the lovely Charlotte, who has been working really closely with Emma Ainsworth on every aspect of the townhouse since the very beginning of the project, and will be the manager of Padstow Townhouse. It was a beautiful day today, congratulations to you both!

31st May

There's a lot of excitement up at the townhouse today the brand new roof is all finished and the dish threefixtures and fittings are starting to move into their new home soon! The electricity and plumbing 'first fix’ is well underway and the sash windows are currently being made; it’ll be so exciting seeing all them in place soon in the lovely 18th century building!

7th June

Paul and Jack from Rojano's in the Square have just been to Manchester and back for a collaboration with James Martin, they had an amazing time, Jack was so excited to go and loved it! They took two dishes with them for the event: our delicious scallops and kimchi as from my previous entry above, and a gorgeous vanilla panacotta served with lime curd, strawberry purée, fresh strawberries, compressed cucumber and mint; it's a refreshing yummy dessert!

Camilla Waite has been a key member of the team at Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 for two Camilla-Waiteyears, 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 16th June 2015

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