|One Saturday morning when I was just 15 years old, I got dressed, grabbed a quick breakfast and set out to catch a bus from Hackney up Blackhorse Road to Waltham Forest College.|
|Of course I couldn't realise that ambition overnight. For the next few months I had to put all thoughts of cooking aside and concentrate on my GCSEs. That was a condition laid down by my parents for allowing me to go to catering college and, as it turned out, it was also a demand of the college.|
|During my second year summer break I had discovered the fun of writing something about what I was doing and this blog was born. In those days I had buckets of spare time - enough to research and write, to document and record, to video and share my thoughts and experiences with the wider world. For a while I even managed to knock out a few pieces for a national newspaper.|
|If Comerç gave me a solid foundation, Martín Beresategui's Lasarte gave me a taste of cooking at the next level of refinement. And that prepared me for Ferrero, where I learnt such a massive amount about self-discipline, professional organisation and perfection of execution. I may have had a few difficult moments during my time there, but I'll always credit Paco Morales as the man who showed me how a restaurant should be run.|
|Very few restaurateurs get an opportunity to work through the agonies and ecstasies of the birth of a serious fine dining restaurant before they open their own establishment. I'm sure that in future years I'll count this as one of the most valuable learning experiences of my career. And it reinforced what I always knew - that there are very few chefs in this country with the creative brilliance of Nuno Mendes.|
|For the time being, this will be my last blog post. It was becoming increasingly difficult in any event, as regular readers will have noticed. Lack of time is one factor, but it's also the case that at this stage of a career it's almost impossible to write about your activities. You can't criticise your employers because that undermines your own position and you can't praise them without being thought biased. So with that in mind, I'm taking a break - from fine dining and from blogging - to do something different for a while.|
I'll keep the blog open, because I know from my email that many young people starting out in the business come here and read about my experiences. I can be contacted via the email link if you click on contact above. Friends can search me out on Facebook as Aidan 'Trig' Brooks and keep in contact that way. All that remains for me to say is - in the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger - "I'll be back."