I’m sorry, it’s been a while. Life’s been crazy busy between work life and trying to plough through the end of term at uni. But as exams draw to a close and the last one is on the horizon I thought I’d better get back to writing.

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Another reason for me to write tonight is some exciting news that I’ve got to share. Some of you will already know through instagram or my constant waffling that I have recently been appointed as chief Pizzaiolo at the pub I work at. It’s been an unconventional progression but one I am grateful for.

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When I first started at the pub I was brought in as a barman after being recommended by the head chef at the time, Mikey, a lovely guy I had previously worked with over summer. Things, however, did not work out and Mikey had to leave meaning the kitchen was left unstaffed. It was Christmas eve and there were a hundred people booked in for lunch the next day… Anyhow, an agency chef was drafted in at great expense and saved the day but boxing day came around and still there was no permanent replacement to fill the positions left by the previous chefs. A new guy, Italian, called Naff came in that day, sent by the agency to cover until they could find someone to take on. Me and Naff got on and after I offered to pot wash for him that boxing day afternoon so he could get on with the onslaught of orders coming in thick and fast, we really hit it off. The next day I was in again but instead of cleaning dishes so he could cook, he pulled me round to the other side of the pass, handed me an apron and a knife and got me started. We had talked briefly about my interest in food but I had never mentioned kitchen experience before, maybe because I didn’t have any…

The days went on and Naff kept me behind the pass, he also took on the permanent position of head chef and moved in upstairs. We slowly reordered the kitchen to fit the way we wanted to work and I learnt a lot. Naff was a cool guy but he had a temper. He treated me like an apprentice, teaching me the tricks of the trade but bollocking me when I inevitably did things wrong. On New Years Eve we hand made canapés for two hundred people in one day on top of regular service and after that I started to feel like the kitchen might be where I belong.

Anyway, University drew me away from the kitchen and back to Birmingham and by the time I returned, Naff was gone. His temper that had forced me into an intense learning environment, was too much for the others to handle. But working with that intense temper taught me a lot and built up a resilience that has come in really handy in the kitchen since.

Back to the pizza story, my landlord has decided to buy a pizza oven on the back of a trailer and our new chef put my name forward to pioneer the project. It has been a tricky process that has involved a lot of learning on my part but we launched it officially the weekend just gone and it was a roaring success. I finally got the dough process down although making 5kg of dough by hand is knackering and only enough for about half a busy day’s worth of service, the sauce still needs work and my speed is probably not quite up to scratch yet, but we’re getting there. We go again this Saturday (wish me luck)!

Work on the book is ongoing, I think I’ve found a publisher so now I’m just trying to get recipes written and tested for you guys.

That’s all I’ve got to catch you guys up on at the moment, sorry if it’s been a bit of slog getting through this one, there was lots I wanted to say!

Creamy Mushroom Linguine

Creamy Mushroom Linguine

Thank you so much for sticking with me on this journey and I’ll write again soon…

J

P.s. have a recipe because I haven’t given you one in ages!