• A Day in the kitchen of a Michelin starred restaurant…

    I was recently given the opportunity to spend a day in the life of a member of kitchen staff at the multi-award winning kitchen at Ynyshir Hall, Eglwys Fach, in Mid-Wales.
    First off, all I can say is wow! What a magnificent and pleasurable number of hours with some wonderful people and outstanding cookery.

    The amazing feature window in the bar area

    I arrived after breakfast had already been served, where I was greeted by the extremely friendly staff, shortly followed by Mr and Mrs Reen, and Theo (the lovely dog) who made time especially to come greet me, and have a chat. At this point I should say, I’m not an inspector, a food critic or any other special entity involved in the food or restaurant trade. This seemed to be standard practice of how they (collectively) meet, greet and treat every guest. Instant comfort, and any apprehensions I previously had, dissolved very quickly.

    I was offered a coffee, and the opportunity to relax a bit before meeting everyone.

    Gareth, Gerwyn and Neil

    I was then shown the way into the kitchen and introduced to Gerwyn and Neil, two very likable and down to Earth individuals. After I asked what I could do to help, I was handed an apron and about half a dozen boxes of mushrooms to top. After a short while, Gareth (head chef) joined us and shook my hand and expressed how pleased he was to have me join them in the kitchen.

    Partridge before Beurre Noisette is added
    and placed under vacuum

    Throughout the day, I felt very much a part of the team, and was given instructions and opportunities to carry out tasks ranging from vacuum sealing the black pudding and sausages for tomorrows’ breakfast, to pickling the mushrooms I had earlier prepared.

    My favourite device in the whole kitchen,
    the vacuum sealer

    I managed to get a few great snaps of some of the food being made and heading out for “service”.

    You may think to yourself that a kitchen with so much going on would be a hectic and uncomfortable place to be. It really wasn’t. It was completely calm, fun, friendly and more than anything had precision organisation.

    Vacuum sealed partridge in Beurre Noisette

    On the left you can see a photograph of the partridge I helped prepare, after the Beurre Noisette was added, it was vacuum sealed and cooked sous vide in a water-bath and was served later with Chicory and Elder.

    Partridge served with chicory and elder.

    Gareth looks like he’s having fun in the photograph below, but I can assure you he was non-stop busy all day, with 100% concentration on the task in hand.

    100% concentration

    There were 3 menus available in the evening, they comprised the following items (they may vary slightly) “Not French onion soup”, as described in my previous post a very interesting merge of flavours, textures and colours. Mackerel with black sesame and fermented cabbage. Duck liver (You can see Neil blow-torching it to perfection in the image below)

    Blow-torching the duck liver

    Jerusalem artichoke with smoked bone marrow and parsley. The parsley partly consisted of an oil infused with parsley, once again using that fabulous vacuum sealing device.

    Chicken Oysters were fried chicken in a breadcrumb served in an oyster shell, a play on the fact that chickens have oysters too.

    Others include, barbecue pork, Leeks, Welsh Wagyu beef 3 ways. Elder pudding.

    I won’t try to include all the dishes served for two reasons, First that I’d like you to go and visit and find out the surprises for yourself, and second this post would be way too for even my attention span and I wrote it! So I will leave you with the rest of the photos I took while enjoying the fabulous experience. Enjoy!

    The base for the “Not French onion soup”

    “Service!” Is called

    “Chicken Oysters”

    Gareth plating up the mackerel dish

    Close up of the “Chicken Oyster” dish

    Six more pictures of bits and bobs from the day: