I still remember my first sink or swim moment, it was in the first few weeks of working at the Grand Chifley and there was a cancelled flight at Adelaide airport. All the chefs had gone home and 200 stranded flyers were sent our way with food and drink vouchers at 10pm. At first I thought I was going to get away with it as no orders were coming in and then all of a sudden I was hit and within minutes the docket rack was full and there was a stream of dockets coming out of the machine down to the floor. I started cooking but just simply couldn’t keep up. Luckily one of the chefs was just down the road and he came back in to help. We made it through but it was hectic. I was so happy to have made it out the other side.
I had such a great experience working at the Grand Chifley, they gave me my first break and I have a lot to thank them for. I got to work with some truly amazing chefs and got given opportunities that people with years more experience would be grateful for. I started as a kitchen attendant but before long I moved onto cooking breakfast. That didn’t last long, it was a mere week before my head chef asked me “so do you like cooking?” my response was a simple one “Yes”. The next day I was cooking for the dinner service. I took it on eagerly learning everything I could. It was very daunting at first, especially as I watched the dockets piling up, orders flying in quicker then we could cook the meals. But as the weeks went by I found it easier and easier to handle the flow of orders.
A few months in to my new role the sous chef and chef de partie left for new opportunities and a month later the head chef left too. This left us understaffed and we all had to step up, to take up the slack. I found myself taking on many of the roles that a sous chef and chef de partie would usually be doing such as the ordering and running the pass, training new chefs, and managing the kitchen attendants. There were nights where it would be just me and the cook in the kitchen and It was up to me to run the show. What an experience, something I could only have dreamed about. I was thrown into the deep end, and swam. I am so grateful to have had these opportunities, I was able to learn so much about what I am capable of, gave me confidence in myself and sped up me learning curve ten fold.
This lasted for a few months before the new head chef started. I was very lucky again as she took me under her wing and trained me up to be the functions chef. Another great experience where I was able to learn methods of serving huge quantities of food for both buffet and a la carte functions, organization being key.
I do have to give a special thank you to one chef David Lange who was there from start to finish and always had all the time in the world for me. He taught me so much, I probably owe him more than I even know.
I will be very sad to leave the Grand Chifley, but at the same time so excited about the next stage of my journey. I will miss all the amazing staff at the GC and the fun times we have had together. What a great bunch of people. Thanks for everything!