Knowing when your time is done at a restaurant, and when to fly the nest

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th September 2019

It looks like I am going to spend them with my whole family in Poland for the first time since 2003.

As I have mentioned in my previous blog, the Feathered Nest has been sold to Adam Taylor, which means new vision, strategy and breath of fresh air for this very special place.

Myself and my wife Magda have been working there since day one, for last 10 years. It has been an amazing chapter of our professional and personal lives, we have learned a lot, achieved wonderful accolades and we have met plenty of fantastic people, but our time here is done.

Taking the leap

We both resigned at the end of August. It is hard to explain the feeling, but the moment previous owners Tony and Amanda had left, we felt like something had come to an end. We weren’t able to give anything more to this place. The Feathered Nest is a wonderful property, which needs new ideas, energy and drive.

Magda is still working her notice period and I have already left. That puts me in that very strange, unknown situation where I don’t have to go to work every day. I have never been in this position before.

I believe in destiny and that things happen for a reason, so I am really looking forward on catching up on everything I didn’t have time for.

We are going to visit all our friends and spend more time together as a family.

It is not all about the leisure though. I am planning to do some stages, wood fire cooking and foraging courses, pop-ups, supper clubs and guest chef dinners etc. To be honest it feels like an exciting time, which will allow me to catch up with my life and do things from my bucket list.

Onwards and upwards

Magda and I set our self an ambitious plan for the year ahead: our dream is to set up our own place. It feels scary even thinking about it, but I know that together we are capable.

This idea was born in our heads almost two years ago, when we found ourselves talking, almost day dreaming, how it would look, where it would be and what food would it serve.

I believe this is a natural step for us, as we are a great team and the time feels right on the back of a year which I’m having since winning the National Chef of the Year title.

We know that this is going to be a massive challenge, especially with the time of uncertainty, Brexit and so on, but we are determined to make it happen and we believe it's now or never. We don’t want to wake up in 10 years’ time regretting that we never tried.

This whole cooking thing was always my dream, which I have been following against the grain, against all the odds and advice, because I love it.

Having a little more time on my hands means I can fully engage with finishing my ‘ultimate shed’, which will be my development kitchen, studio and pop up restaurant.

I want this to become my playing ground were I can try and test our new project, ‘Kubarn’.

I will soon reveal the details, but the idea is to use ancient techniques in modern cooking, to come back to the basics, to make things how they used to be: simple, honest and delicious; and to create a hub for the best food producers in the Cotswolds.

This shed is only 3 meters by 3 meters, but it represents a huge joint effort from so many people and companies who helped me make it happen. I am really overwhelmed with the support I have received.

This week the Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year 2020 mentor day is at Tottenham Hotspur stadium. It is great to see how this competition is going form strength to strength, it is getting better and better every year.

I would like to wish all the finalists the best of luck in the next 3 weeks.

I have very fond memories of this time last year. It was a massive honour to be part of a line-up of judges for this event, so I will see you all there -  but in the meantime if I can be a help in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  

KUBA WINKOWSKI 31 22

About Kuba Winkowski

Kuba is the 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.

The chef recently left The Feathered Nest Inn in the Cotswolds following a change of ownership.

Photo credit: Hospitality Media

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th September 2019

Knowing when your time is done at a restaurant, and when to fly the nest