Monday, 1 February 2010

Adiós España... Por Ahora

Two years, four months and four days ago a Ryanair flight touched down at Girona airport and - armed with a suitcase full of clothes, my knife roll and my college diploma - I set foot on Spanish soil to begin my training as a professional chef. It was the start of a great adventure that was to take me from early days struggling to cope with the demands of a pro kitchen to the triumph of being part of a Michelin star winning team to my first appointment as a chef de partie. An adventure that led to my stages at the now Michelin 2* Lasarte at Hotel Condes, followed by an extraordinary seven months with Paco Morales at Juan Carlos Ferrero's hotel in the mountains of València where I learnt a level of kitchen discipline that exceeded anything I'd previously experienced and where I was privileged to be appointed Pastry Chef.

I can't write about my time in Spain without mentioning Barcelona's awesome Boqueria market, my first experiences with the tools of molecular gastronomy, my first real understandings of the immense scope of responsibility of a Head Chef, eating at Bilbao's inspirational Guggenheim, at Barcelona's exceptional Cinc Sentits and at Girona's perfect El Celler de Can Roca. And I have immense pride at having cooked for two of the world's greatest living chefs - El Bulli's Albert Adrià and pastry genius Paco Torreblanca.

Catalan food
But time moves on and we all come to points in our lives when it's time for a change. Last Friday night a Ryanair flight touched down at Stansted airport and, armed with my suitcase full of clothes, my knife roll, my college diploma and a whole bunch of incredible experiences, I returned to my home country. If I had my time over again, I would make exactly the same decision. Two decades ago a young chef would have packed his or her bags and set off for the world's leading culinary country of the times - France. In my era, the country any aspiring young chef was bound to head off to was France's southern neighbour. I don't regret one single minute of my time in the truly wonderful country of Spain and I'm sure I'll be back.

Who knows where the future will take me. But, starting today, I've decided to seek employment as a chef in the land of my birth. It's been great to be away. It's even better to be home again.

12 comments:

Brian said...

Good luck Aidan. Hopefully your next position isn't too far away and it's a place that is up to the level you are looking for.

docsconz said...

Best of luck, Trig! I'm sorry that you won't be in Spain when next I go, but now I will have another reason to visit England.

Jeremy said...

Up your leg Aidan!

Happy cooking!

Su-Lin said...

Welcome back to the UK!

Chennette said...

Good Luck Trig! Was it really only 2 years? You packed alot into that time. Let's hope 2010 brings great new opportunities for you!

Richard said...

I'm sure there are 1000 restaurants bidding for your skills right now!
I'll shout you lunch sometime if you're in London

Núria said...

Your words have raised my arms hair... how do you say that in English?

I wish you the best of lucks Aidan!!!

Believe it or not, today I thought about you because my husband and I went to Alkimia for lunch and remembered that post you wrote about the restaurant.

Adiós Aidan... Por ahora!

Trig said...

Thanks for your supportive comments guys. It's been a difficult couple of months, but I've made the decision to return and I'll be getting my head down to search for a job in London.

John - see you over here some time.
Richard - only in dreams, I'm afraid.
Núria - the phrase is "make the hairs on my arms stand up" or "...stand on end". ¡Hasta la vista!

Mike said...

Good to have you back here.

Mallika said...

Welcome back! Looking forward to hearing about the new chapter...

Gfron1 said...

As they say, the world is your oyster. What a fantastic ride and its only been your warm-up. Congrats and I'm looking forward to keeping up with your career.

Trig said...

Thanks guys. News of my new job as soon as I can announce it.


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