Is there a limit to how much a chef can do in a month?

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 4th July 2019

Hello there! Believe it or not, it’s time for my July blog already.

I can’t complain for lack of exciting events in the past month. June was jam-packed in trips, demos, eating, drinking and meeting amazing people from the industry and beyond, on top of my daily job running The Feathered Nest Inn.

I travelled over 9000 miles by car, plane and train. It feels like I am on the NCOTY 2019 tour - all I am missing is the Tour Bus.

When I wrote my last blog I was packing my bags for a three-day culinary trip to Norway with the Craft Guild’s David Mulcahy, George Blogg and the Lockhart guys.

We spent 72 hours eating and drinking - it was almost a man versus food situation.

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We flew to Stavanger, the oil capital of Norway, where we visited the Figgjo porcelain factory to see their eco-friendly production and learn more about how all the crockery is made. 

Then we went to meet Christian Andre Petterson, Bocuse d’Or bronze medallist in his team’s practice kitchen, where they were preparing for this year’s Europe selection.

It was impressive to see the whole set up, which explained why Norway is doing so well in this prestigious competition in the recent years.

Our first day finished with dinner at a local fish restaurant, Fisketorge, where we indulged in a selection of whatever the fishermen had landed that day.

On the second day of the trip, by far the most magical, we cruised around fjords and visited a  halibut farm to see the whole production chain from tiny little fish to 6-7kg beauties.

To make the day even more special we stopped for lunch in a little restaurant on one of the islands,

We had meal made from local halibut cooked nailed to the wooden boards over the open fire, served with local tomatoes, potatoes and herb sauce. It was absolutely stunning, so simple, so delicious and in such a special location.

I loved it. We finished this extraordinary day with very tasty testing menu in Tango restaurant in the Stavanger town centre and quite a few G&T in local bars which seems to be hiving even on Tuesday night.     

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On the last day of the trip we flew to Oslo. We had a very nice walk around the city centre.

Our first meal of the day was a lunch in Sentralen restaurant, which was very informal restaurant with a sharing concept. Dishes were really fresh and tasty and for the first time I ate whale, which was really good.

Next stop was visit to restaurant Rest were chef Jimmy Oien cooks only from waste. It was really interesting chat to find out how much potentially tasty good food is not used.

As time was running out, we rushed of to Restaurant Galt for an-8 course tasting menu. We have been treated to an early, privately host dinner by chef Bjorn Svensson, which was a beautiful journey through Scandinavian flavours.

Norway is an amazing country full of beautiful nature, food and people. We were very lucky to had a great guide with us at all times, with wide contacts and local knowledge. I feel very lucky to be able to experience and thankful to organisers. It was a great treat.

The month's excitement didn't end there. Only 18 hours later from my return from Norway, I was due on stage at Craft Guilds of Chefs Awards in London Hilton, where as current NCOTY I was invited to do Q&A with James Tanner and make a toast to the Chefs, who cooked for over 700 people that night. 

Through out the month I was invited twice to Poland. On the first occasion I cooked again on national TV breakfast show in their summer outdoor studio, which was an absolute blast.

My second visit of the month was to judge a one of Poland’s most popular cooking competition. It was an honour to be there, especially that I was treated with great respect from my peers and I was genuine seen as an expert with completely different angle and knowledge of the European trends. 

I think you can all see know what I meant by saying that June was ‘jam packed’.

In between the activities I mentioned above I was part of the judging panel at National Chef of the Year semi-finals in London, which was a massive honour and personal satisfaction.

It was a dream come true to stand alongside all the legends and be part of the gang as well as it has been a full circle from competitor, winner to judge, all in 3 years. 

Oh yes and like probably most of us I am short of staff so I had to push extra hard at work too.

I have to say at times I feel to be pushed to the limits on all fronts, but I love every minute of it and I feel blessed to have all these opportunities. I have met the most amazing people along the way from all the angles of the industry. The most important message is to never give up, stick to your goals, dream big, work hard and push yourself. We are in an amazing industry, full of incredible individuals and the only limit is the sky. 

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About Kuba Winkowski

Kuba  is the head chef at the Feathered Nest Inn  in Nether Westcote and winner of the Craft Guild of Chefs' National Chef of the Year 2019.

Since he began his career, Kuba has won cooking competitions in two countries and done stages at Le Gavroche, Rhodes 24, Buckingham Palace and The British Embassy in Paris.

His first full time job was a commis chef in Le Manoir aux quat’ Saison under Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones.

In February 2010, he joined the Timmers as Sous Chef, becoming head chef two years later. In his first year running the kitchen, Kuba was awarded 3 AA Rosettes. The chef has appeared on Saturday Kitchen on BBC2, Saturday Morning with James Martin on ITV.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 4th July 2019

Is there a limit to how much a chef can do in a month?