While at my last work experience at Urbane, chef Ben Williamson (formerly head chef at Cha Cha Char) told me that he was going to be the head chef of a new bistro called Gerard’s in Fortitude Valley. After it finally opened I immediately wanted to go and eat there. During my work experience at e’cco bistro, Kym Machin (Spring) rang me to see if I would like to do some work experience with Ben and his team. This was even better than eating there!
I arrived early, so I had time for a hot chocolate at the closest place, James Street Café. I then had to find Gerard’s which I knew was behind Bucci but nevertheless still quite hard to locate. I decided not to wear my chef whites because I knew that the chefs dressed casual – denim jeans and black Gerard’s t-shirts. I was half hoping I’d score one of these prized T’s but had to settle with my own shirt. Maybe next time!
Gerard’s food influences are Middle Eastern due to Ben having lived and worked around that part of the world.
Once there, Ben led me to the dessert/bread section where I started working with Shaun. I measured out the yeast, water and flour and put them in the mixer. He also gave me a couple of blood oranges that I had to carefully cut away the pith and skin and cut into rounds.
Then Shaun caramelised them for the crème catalana. I also had to pack quinces in containers and label them.
Afterwards I watched a chef debone a grey mackerel. It was nearly the size of me!
I had to portion cooked goat leg which tasted so good.
Then I placed slices of thick beef into a vacuum pack and pour a small ladle of shallot oil inside. From there it went into the vacuum sealer and all the air was removed.
I also had to layer thick pig slices in a container placing baking sheets between each layer.
Just before service I quickly picked coriander.
While the restaurant was in service I stood next to Ben and helped him serve up a couple of dishes.
Around the end of service, Con (ex Urbane chef) showed me how to take the knuckles off a butterflied spatchcock to leave the bone clean at the end. Then Mathias (ex head chef e’cco) spotted me in the kitchen and was surprised that I would be working there as well. He had just eaten with one of Phillip’s staff that I had seen at e’cco and thanked the kitchen for his great meal on his way out.
I then watched Con take apart a whole suckling pig
I was then confronted with my weakness… pears! I had trouble slicing the poached pears equally.
My last job was to vacuum pack pumpkin and eggplant puree and tomato concentrate.
Before I left I told the chefs about my blog and gave them my business card.
I loved every minute of it and I hope to return to eat and of course… work.