...in a busy & varied Kitchen
Want to work with some of the very best produce that Scotland has to offer?
No two days are the same is something of a cliché, at Prestonfield it couldn't be truer!
There are so many things involved in the mix of a truly great hotel, breakfast, room service, lunches, preparing for our famous afternoon tea, private dining menus in our private rooms and up to a hundred diners in our restaurant, Rhubarb. We'll also bake the breads, make the chocolates and petit fours and still have freshly baked cookies in every guest's room when they check in. Add to all that a busy events space, a ballroom seating 500 guests, and we could be cooking for a 1,000 guests a day on some days!
There's breakfast – always busy, but then we include it in the rate and guests really seem to enjoy it. There is more involved than you'd think; juices are very freshly squeezed, not the "freshly opened" that you'd find elsewhere. Pastries are home-baked of course, as are some of the speciality jams and preserves. We don't cure the bacon, smoke the kippers or make the sausages, but we do put a lot of effort into finding suppliers who can supply the very best of these. With Scotland's natural larder on our doorstep that should be easy, but sourcing small artisan suppliers occupies a lot of our Head Chef's time and tracking down the very best produce is vital.
The morning is devoted to prep, seeing deliveries are checked, making sure orders have been fulfilled and ensuring what has been delivered meets our exacting standards.
Staff lunch is served before midday and gives staff from all departments an opportunity to mix. For us it is an early warning that lunch is about to start and, not much more than a hour since you sent up the last kipper or eggs Benedict, you are sending up breads for the first lunch guests.
Prep continues. There is a lot of it, but then we've a lot of menus to cover: breakfast, lunch, traditional afternoon tea, a canapé reception, theatre suppers, set two course dinners and a la carte in the restaurant. On top of this there are likely to be some private dinners in the private dining rooms or a wedding. A five-hundred seat dinner in our stables could trump the lot...and did I mention 24-hour room service and a bar menu? This is a very busy brigade!
Afternoon tea will keep the pastry chefs busy as we work towards the crunch time of evening service. Whilst we hope the experience is a relaxed one for the guests, in the kitchens the pressure is on; we need to deliver canapés with their drinks, an amuse bouche as they settle into the restaurant, breads and then three or four courses before we send up a selection of freshly made petit fours...and then repeat! Evening service can be long and hard, it can be hours after the first tray of canapés goes up that the last petit fours are sent, but it is a huge thrill to deal with the logistics and deliver really great food.
Surprisingly quickly service comes to an end and it is time to clean down stations and see orders go in for tomorrow, room service orders will continue to trickle in and it won't be long before the breakfast chef is setting up for another day. Some of the brigade have been busy on a big event – 350 dinners served to an exacting timetable as the event was being televised! Service for them was the culmination of several days of prep and hard work, yet in just two hours 350 diners were fed and ready to be entertained.