Diaries of an apprentice: my first months at No.6, blog by Olivia Carthew

The Staff Canteen

My family and I have always enjoyed going out to dine in nice restaurants, Paul Ainsworth at No.6 being one of them. Increasingly I became interested in the service and what goes on behind the scenes.

I’ve worked in hospitality before and absolutely loved it, so when I saw the opportunity to be a front of house apprentice at No.6 with Truro and Penwith College, I had to go for it.

At first, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to rise to the challenge. I wondered what people would think of me as I’m still so young, but everybody I work with is amazing and has made me feel welcome.

My first impression was great - not only because of the incredible food and service, but I loved the way everyone worked as a team. I’ve always heard that Paul is very kind and the perfect person to start a career with, and I wanted to experience what it’s like on the inside of a Michelin-starred restaurant.

When I first started, I quickly realised how much it really is like one massive family. I have always enjoyed working as part of a team and the encouragement you give each other, especially when everyone has the same positive energy.

So far I have most enjoyed working in CiCi’s Bar (upstairs at No.6) with bar manager Liam, learning about all the different spirits and how to make good coffee.

I love tasting and learning about the food as it makes the job to being so much more than just a normal front of house role. I’m keen to see every detail that goes into making a great service.

However, as a new team member, the job can be stressful when it’s busy - I don’t always know what everything is or the exact way a certain task should be performed, but that’s all part of the learning process and it’s the only way I’ll get better.

I’ve learnt so many new skills – some more difficult than others, and some of the more basic skills such as how to engage with our customers, how to communicate well and hold a good conversation, which may seem so ordinary but is so different when you really start to understand more about each individual guest.

My favourite dishes are the smoked haddock which is served in a ‘quiche lorraine’ style with confit egg yolk, lyonnaise onions, avruga caviar and a haddock sauce for a starter. For the main course, I would have to pick the rib of beef with bordelaise sauce - it’s perfectly cooked and just melts in the mouth. The dessert, of course, has to be “a fairground tale”, with its three amazing courses consisting of coconut soufflé, the carousel (with chocolate treats) and then hot doughnuts with raspberry curd and muscovado walnuts.

At the end of a working day, I feel like I’ve been so productive and have achieved the different goals that I’ve been set. It’s hard work and tiring and I admire anyone in this industry that works as hard as catering and hospitality staff do. But it’s a great feeling when you know you’ve done your best and everyone recognises it - you leave work feeling like you’ve done your job well, ready to start the next day.

By the end of the one-year course, I would love to have mastered my latte art to perfection, know more about wine and can allow myself to walk away saying I’ve learnt as much as I possibly could. A personal goal of mine is to grow in confidence and improved my people skills to a level that I’m happy with, which I definitely think No.6 will help me to achieve.

Olivia Carthew is a front of house apprentice at No.6 with Truro and Penwith College, as part of The Paul Ainsworth Academy.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th February 2019

Diaries of an apprentice: my first months at No.6, blog by Olivia Carthew