Thursday, 2 June 2016

Profession: Chef

In 1996 I took my first summer job working in a kitchen run  a former home ec teacher who taught convicts in prisons and now ran a cafe with home made cakes pastries and other goodies it was from here I developed a love of cooking but also hard work and discipline I had my jobs that i had to do before I started in the kitchen which included brushing and mopping the cafe and general cleaning duties it was the kind of business where everyone got stuck in when it got busy but my role was predominantly in the back round and that's how I liked it 

From that I attended Cork Institute of technology to begin my professional chef course I excelled as I loved what I did got on with my class mates and worked hard. 
I won a scholarship to America graduated top of my class after two years and had the joy of representing my country in an CIT culinary team 
As part of the chef program two placements had to be completed of which I stayed in the same hotel for.
On my first day the sous chef whom departed within months of me starting made some comments such as your hairs too long you'll start to smoke and the pastry section os somewhere you should get familiar with as that's where most women end up ........ 
At the time it went over my head and didn't pay attention to it I got on with my training and worked hard on my journey of becoming a chef . I got on well with my head chef and when I felt it was time for me to move on advice and help were offered to me in my career.
A summer season at another hotel and I find myself 15 years ago at Fenns Quay my first restaurant I loved it some of my former collage friends had worked there too some five years later I became head chef aged 26 and at aged 28 the proprietor. I became a member of a chef organisation where I would meet and be mentored by some of Ireland's top chefs. Many chefs have come and gone through Fenns under my watch and many come back to say hello or even back to work for me which makes me proud 

•Fenns voted RAI best restaurant Cork 2015 & 2014 
•Georgina Campbell & Bord Bia 
"Just Ask" all Ireland restaurant of the year 2015 
•Mckennas top100   2014 & 2015 & appear in their guide 14,15,16 
•Food and Wine top 10 chef in Munster 
2013 2015 
• food and wine top 10 restaurant in Munster 
2013 2015 
•featured in Michelin guide 2008-2016
• Yes Chef awards finalist 2014 ,2015 
•Hi Magazine judges special merit award winner 2015 
•Eurotoque food council 
• RAI council member 15&16 

Why write this piece ? 
What is its importance ? 

My name is Kate Lawlor I am a chef with an award winning business 
In this piece I do not mention gender as first and foremost is hope that we got all above  merits because Were bloody good at what We do.
I hope I am an inspiration to both male and female chefs coming into the industry as are the chefs Iv met worked with and continue to be to me those I meet in circles such as Eurotoques and chef network. 
Being a chef is a passion, our industry needs looking at when it comes to hours and pay we also need to look at why culinary graduates are shying away from kitchens and yes women are short on the ground we need to address this too and find out the reasons why. Our industry is talking and debate has begun it can only be for the good of every chef 

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