I don’t believe it…

Award acceptance

Two Thursdays ago, I left university in Sheffield to come home for the Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards, where I won the award for the Young Chef of the Year 2015.

Booker’s who sponsored my award have also rewarded me with a 2 day trip to London where I will be meeting Michel Roux Jnr and Jacob Kenedy… I literally can’t wait!!

Admittedly, I don’t let on a lot about myself. I’ve always wanted to compete but I’ve also feared the concept of being judged for so long that I never pushed myself to do competitions.

To be honest, in hindsight of the award’s evening, I’d set myself up to not be disappointed, so naturally I thought it would just be a night of complimentary food and drink… I never imagined I would be walking away with an actual award! Winning hasn’t exactly been a word in my vocabulary for pretty much all of my life so it actually felt WEIRD, I was shocked when they called my name. Walking up to the stage and having people you don’t know congratulating you was very surreal.

My winning dishes was Calves’ Liver escalopes and a Saxby cider reduction sauce, also a Sloe Gin pannacotta for my dessert.

Main course

Dessert

I’ll just put it out there that I want to seriously work on my presentation skills, it wasn’t easy under pressure but it’s just a note to self for next time.

I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve had so many inner battles with my own self-esteem and that winning this award is only the beginning for me in recovering from all of that. The most important part for me is that I did take part and I didn’t shy away from a challenge this time which is rewarding in itself.

I could never even express in words my gratitude towards how much my parents have ran around for me. My dad who sat in the hotel car park until 12.30 at night for me to finish my shifts. My mother who told me to “Go to college!!!!!!!!!!!! You’re wasting your time in the factories!”. They have both been a blessing in my life.

Finally, my tutors who are all one of a kind people that I’m going to sorely miss. A true wealth of knowledge, all of whom put up with my cheekiness and never failed to make sure I tried, tried and tried again whether I liked it or not.

I’ve had people laugh at me when I said I’d got a job at a fish and chip shop. Once, a fellow class mate told me that I wasn’t going to be much and that I’d be begging him for a job one day. In one night, I showed myself that I can do anything if I set my heart on it. I’m just so grateful that I got to share that moment with my family and friends

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#hotellife

I probably haven’t even mentioned that I have a new job, but… I have a new job!

Transitioning between having a comfortable job where I got to be part of a small team and had interactions with the customer to a full-on hotel with Weddings, Banquets and Barbeques is a big move for me. One minute you’re serving fish and chips and the next you’re making 4-star 1 rosette quality food, it’s quite a leap but I’m getting stuck in.

Initially, I went to Kettering Park Hotel with strict intentions to do some work experience and learn about preparing banquets and buffets. In the end I came out with a job offer I found hard to refuse, so here I am.

I’ve now been working for the hotel a little over a month and it seems like I’m going to end up being a pastry chef a lot of the time I’m there. When I’m not needed so much I guess I’ll be a floater… hehe, floater! 😉

Highlights of the job so far? Not many, except the staff are nice and I’ve already got to show-off my piping skills :p

Findley and Evie, you are welcome 😉

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For the most part it’s all been banquets and buffets, a lot of making plates look the same…

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Or plating up desserts at the speed of superwoman… and my god isn’t that the truth. I’m hearing a lot of “Tamsin! Have you a got a minute?” far too much already.

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I joke though, I do love it and wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s a damn shame I’m going to uni.

I have chosen!!

So it’s official, I have received and accepted my offer from Sheffield Hallam University for Hospitality Management with Culinary Arts. Part of me is like YAY!!!! and the other part is like “AHHHH! What am I getting myself into?”.

Being a mature student is hard work some days, but have I benefited from it? Yes. Do I want to go back in a time machine to scream at my younger self to get my butt into gear? Hell yes. I suppose when you think of the time you could have saved yourself, it’s bloody annoying and yet I just think… You Only Live Once. So f**k it.

Travelling and things...

Travelling and things...

Travelling and things...

I’m not going to lie, Sheffield Hallam is a wee bit of a monstrosity but it’s so modern and technical, a proper business school.

A hipster by nature I was instantly drawn to the amount of coffee shops, restaurants and quaint pubs around.

Travelling and things...

Travelling and things...

Sheffield is known for it’s steel and across the road from the uni is an interesting gallery full of hand crafted pieces from various periods. My favourite part of the gallery is the botanical gardens at the end which people just seem to hang out in casually. Also this crafted statue of the plant from ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ which is awesome…

Travelling and things...

A big plus of Sheffield is that my parents seemed to like it too because it’s ‘somewhere to visit’ as my mother said.

Travelling and things...

They do look pretty chuffed 😉

Travelling and things...

I’m chuffed too 🙂 Sheffield looks and feels like a great place to live and socialise in so here’s to 4 more months of anticipation. I will be finished college in a month and I’m going to miss the mentoring of my tutors, it’s going to be so weird. But I here’s baby Tamsin growing up and onwards, out of diapers into pants… blah blah blah. We can only wait and see.

I didn’t expect this…

I’ve now chosen a university, I wont say which one as tomorrow’s blog will tell you all about it.

This blog is about my trip to Buxton University… there isn’t much to tell. Buxton is like the most remote place you could ever want to go to university!

Living in the midlands (middle of England/middle Earth…lol) means that you get very mild weather and the fierciest weather we experience are gales which at most will sweep the chimney off your roof or knock down whole brick walls… that’s life hardly Hurricane Katrina (excuse the poor comparison).

Anyway, Buxton is 3 hours away from where I live, so naturally I took the opportunity to nap in the back of the car since we departed at 5.30 am!

I woke up at 9 am to lovely sunny weather in a small village.

Travelling and things...

Then we followed the Satnav up a street out of the village and then the scenery looked more like this.

Travelling and things...

5 minutes later….

Travelling and things...

Another 5 minutes later….

Travelling and things...

WHAT THE HELLLLL IS THIS?!

So basically, a long story short, sorry Buxton but nooooooo wayyyyyyy!

Everything and nothing

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I had a great Christmas with my family, boyfriend and friends. It was also really nice to have a breather from college and just cook when I choose to cook!

Christmas dinner was lovely, I never got the opportunity to take a photo of the finished product because I was busy running around trying to get everything ready at the same time but never mind here’s my dainty plate of leftovers from the next day.

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I have been experimenting with food recently and my boyfriend hasn’t turned his nose up at anything yet which is a good sign … oh except for the partridge and pheasant curry which he said was just okay! I was not happy. Apparently it would have been better freshly made, and I agree but sometimes you just want to eat hassle free, you know??

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I thought it was delicious and it was easy to make too (mostly because I cheated and used a jar of butter curry from Tesco). I just gave it a bit of all-spice seasoning and it was lovely.

Sometimes it’s nice not cook fancy things when you’re a chef. In fact, McDonalds is probably every chef’s favourite place to eat…. mmmmm McDonalds.

Now I am back at college doing Pastry and Bakery skills for two weeks, it is already so much fun but stress at the same time. I swear it has been a week full of screwing up anything and everything  imaginable. However, our class has produced some lovely desserts this week.

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Credits to Hannah and George because we are just the dream team also, Tasha and Sam for the Berry Roulade (bottom picture), Charlie and Autumn for the Churros (2nd picture from the top) and for helping me dip Strawberries and Grapes into boiling hot sugar!

Your face is going to get stuck that way

HarsH ReaLiTy

I make a facial expression that has literally caused a crease, wrinkle to form on my face. It is when I observe humans acting humanly and I wrinkle my face and try to pull both my lips to the side. It is hard to explain and I really don’t feel like horrifying everyone with a close up of my face. I just thought I’d let you all know it is true! Your face is going to get stuck that way…

This post really isn’t as random as it seems.

-OM

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Business as usual

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I did my last stall of the year a fortnight ago and it went well as it always does, slow but successful. I’ve changed the way I operate, obviously a businesswoman never tells her secrets but all I’ll say is I didn’t do prep at home this time. Instead I chose to do some cupcake decorating whilst I was sat waiting for customers. They aren’t that good but I thought my Santa Claus, Christmas tree and Rudolph looked so cute. When I was closing my stall I gave away the cupcakes to some children who were rather impressed.

However with 2015 underway I have to change my game up a lot, I don’t just want to do stalls anymore in fact I want to start developing some of my products and services into something a little bit more lucrative. Planning is the key! Business issues aside, I have a great feeling about next year that I will see a lot of change in my life.

Recently I completed my personal statement and sent off my application to all of my university choices: University College Birmingham, University of West London, University of Derby/Buxton and Sheffield Hallam University. Amazingly, I have responses from all of my choices one of which is an unconditional offer and the other 3 are conditional which is great news.

As I already explained, I am mature student in my third and final year of catering. For me this means a lot, I haven’t had a lot of success in my life up until this point. Even nicer is that I don’t really need anybody to tell me I’ve done well because I feel like I have. No more beating myself up about my past failings…  wonderful.

The next step is attending Open Days at all of my university choices and thinking about which are suitable to my needs. It’s overwhelming just thinking about all the travelling and walking around that I will have to do, but it has to be done so I can sort accommodation out and all that drivel.

In the mean time I am enjoying the start of a new relationship with somebody special and my belly is enjoying the great food produced in the Brassiere at college, last time I went in for lunch I had Pork Belly for my main course and Lemon soufflé for dessert, it was delicious.

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I am working on my blog constantly. Admittedly I don’t always have things to write but I am gathering content and material of interest so when I do have the time I can have a field day writing about my cheffing adventures! So you may see a little less of my blogs as the year goes on but of course my education is my priority, but I also love writing so I’ll attempt to keep it up.

So until next time…