A day in a professional kitchen

As much as I love cooking, I also love eating out and one of our regular haunts is The Beehive pub and restaurant in White Waltham. We’ve visited many times since it was taken over by Dominic Chapman, who we knew previously from The Royal Oak in Paley Street. His food, quite simply is outstanding and never disappoints. Having been an avid Masterchef fan for years, I’ve always wanted to ‘do a service’ in a professional kitchen but it’s not exactly something you can buy on Amazon!! So I penned a message to Dom asking if he’d be kind enough to let me join him for a lunchtime service and lucky for me, he said yes!

So with great excitement, enthusiasm and some comfortable shoes (Dom’s recommendation!) I made my way to The Beehive for 9am on Tuesday morning. The kitchen is quite small but extremely organised. After meeting the team – Katie, Dave and Johnjo, I was given the task of preparing the beautiful fresh wild garlic that had arrived that morning. I then moved on to spelt bread loaves and with Johnjo’s guidance, I rolled and shaped the dough, placed them into their tins and watched them prove. I was delighted with Dom’s later comment ‘Nice bread Nat’! I watched in awe as the well rehearsed teamwork glided through the lunchtime service without a hitch and 30 covers later it was done. My final task of the day was by far my favourite, which perhaps has something to do with the fact that it’s one of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted and is one of Dom’s signature dishes – Rabbit lasagne. In all fairness, the hardwork had already been done so it was simply a case of assembling the lasagnes for dinner service. It was both therapeutic and rewarding bringing together all of the lovingly prepared ingredients into the final dish.

After 6 and a bit hours of being on my feet, I was definitely ready for a glass of wine!! I have the upmost respect for everyone in the restaurant business purely for the hours they put in, the care and love they give to their job and because it is seriously one of my favourite past times. Thank you Dom and team for welcoming me into your kitchen for the day. A very special day that I will remember forever.

In honour of my fabulous day and National Pie week, I cooked Dom’s chicken and mushroom pie … it was yum!

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