When the restaurant you work at restaurant changes owners, turn to your passions

The  Staff Canteen

Another month has passed and we're well into holiday season.

The Cotswolds are full of visitors and tourists, so it is always a busy month for us at The Feathered Nest.

I, however, am off for my annual family holiday in the next few days - though I'm booked for quite few events back in Poland, cooking lunch during Duszniki International Chopin Piano Festival, a charity dinner in Sopot to raise money for a local hospice and hosting a workshop inspired by Jane Austen’s cookbook during the British Literature Festival in Sopot.

Hopefully I'll find some time to rest, too. 

This past month has been quieter than the previous, which allowed me to focus on my "Kubarn" curing shed project - which I'm hoping to finish in September.

July was quite an emotional month as well, as The Feathered Nest was sold to a new owner who took over on  August 1st. I have been here for almost 10 years, growing as a chef, improving my skills, gaining accolades, building the restaurant's  reputation and following my passion.

Sometimes it is easy to forget that business is business and money is money. Friendship becomes an afterthought and you get passed on like furniture.

It is a fact of life, but it still feels strange; there is no doubt that this chapter has 

closed.

Luckily, another fact of life is that when one chapter finishes, a new one starts. Things always happen for a reason. I am really excited about the future, as it looks like there are new opportunities on the horizon. I am still exploring all the options, so no decision has been made.

All I know for certain is that I want to follow my various passions and ideas. I love my job and the industry. On Monday, July 29th , I was part of an event for the 2020 National Chef of the Year finalists in London and I was aske

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When you lose all points of reference,

turn to your passions, says Kuba Winkowski

d the question: "What is the best thing about winning this title?"

My answer was that the best thing is the opportunity to meet so many amazing people from food industry. The support, knowledge and advice you receive from a network of people, as well as a handful of mentors, are unbelievable.

It gives you massive strength and a sense of community and this is vital in the down moments, which we all have at times.

Talking of passions, I competed in the Final of British Charcuterie Awards 2019 alongside professionals who make cured meat products for a living using state of the art equipment.

I won 2 silver medals, 1 bronze and ‘the best in class’ product - and that is why I believe we must always listen to our inner voice, even if it is all a bit crazy. 

I built my curing chamber 3 years ago for about £200; I converted a catering fridge following YouTube tutorials and scouring  internet forums - and because I am no electrician, there were a few explosions, power cuts, long nights and lots of frustrated tears along the way.

This was followed by endless experimenting, testing and tuning the equipment, drama after drama (too salty, not salty enough, too crumbly, too dry, too wet) and tedious waits of up to 6 months in between.

I didn’t give up. People thought I was a lunatic; some of them thought I was building a bomb.

When you finally succeed and you can see incredible results it feels so good, it gives you so much motivation and positive energy. You quickly forget about all the pain along the way. I recommend this to everybody; find something you want to achieve and go for it. It must be one of the best ways to keep your state of mind and mental health in the right condition.

Have a great August people, take care of yourself and be safe. Watch this space!

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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 5th August 2019

When the restaurant you work at restaurant changes owners, turn to your passions