Matthew Wills

Skilled Futures - Cookery


I was lucky enough to win the 2016/2017 BBM Youth Support Award for Cookery, to go over to the UK for a minimum of 4 weeks to learn more about my trade.

I had lined up 3 places of work over the time I was in London.

  1. The Clove Club
  2. The River Café
  3. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

The Clove Club was located in Shoreditch which was about a 35-40 minute tube ride from where I was staying in Paddington. The Clove Club was amazing. Being a 1 Michelin Star restaurant the standards they had were incredible so this being the first place I worked at put it in to perspective how much I was going to learn on this trip. They had their own dry aging fridge in the prep kitchen which I have never seen anything like before it was incredible, from whole 100 day aged chickens to whole sides of pork and even goose it was great to see how they do things in such a fine establishment.

The river Café was located about a 30 min tube ride to Hammersmith station then a 10 min walk to the restaurant, This was my second restaurant that I had lined up and I was extremely excited to start here from what I had hear about it from friends and family.

This amazing also 1 Michelin Star restaurant was unique in the way the changed there menu 2 times a day for lunch and dinner. All the morning chefs would get in at 8:30-9:00 and the prep would start, we would all start on the meat and fish, the proteins for the lunch service would get prepared while the Chef for the service would write the menu. When it got to about 10:30 all the morning prep would be done and all the chefs would get there list of jobs to be completed by 12 for the menu to be ready it always kept you on you toes and made every day fun and challenging. All the chefs here were perfect in helping and guiding me to be at the level they were at.

Le Manoir the last and by far most amazing restaurant I had ever worked at in my time being a chef, This 2 Michelin star restaurant was ridiculously perfect from there gardens which could take you hours to properly explore to the amazing kitchen I worked in with a massive team of about 15 chefs. Each day was different with me getting the chance to work on each section everyday I was learning new things, some days you would be under the pump and having to run to the gardens to get ingredients was a crazy part of the day. All of the chefs were as helpful as each other and made this experience unforgettable.

After I finished my final day of work in the UK my mother met me in Paddington (London) and we decided to have a little holiday, I packed my bags that night and we went down to the Eurostar the next morning. About 2 hours later we were in Paris and that was our home for the night then heading off to Lyon which was amazing having 2 nights here was perfect just enough time to walk around the town and see the beautiful sights it had to offer.

Day 4 we were off to Nimes I haven’t heard of this town but it surely was breathtaking from our hotel window we could see the Colosseum so we had to check it out.

Day 5 we went to the train station to Barcelona 3 hours later we have arrived, with a 30 min walk to the hotel on a stinking hot day we were glad to finally be there, then we walked into town for lunch then a long walk along Barcelona beach while the sun went down.

Day 6 a short train ride to Madrid which I absolutely loved walking around the cozy streets of Madrid where at every turn was an amazing tapas bar.

Day 7 we had booked a Hot Air balloon that would take us over Segovia, up nice and early before the sun so we could get set up and in the air to catch the sunrise which was breathtaking.

Day 8 of to the airport to fly over to Rome and I have to say this destination was by far my favorite of them all just walking around the streets every corner there is a story to tell from the beautiful colloseum to the fountain di trevi, and the food was to die for I was in heaven.

Day 10 back to the station to Milan for about 30 mins then off to Zurich Switzerland, and now this place was to beautiful for words to describe, we were walking along this mad made lake which we followed all the way to town and if you wanted you could swim to town that was pretty cool.

Day 11 we were lucky we only decided to stay one night in Zurich because it was very expensive, now off to Amsterdam which was originally meant to be one train but turned into 3 trains 2 busses and some running that made it an excited but nerve-racking day. Finally made it to Amsterdam which was funky the river running through every street of the town made it unique to me.

Day 13 back on the train going through Germany, France and Belgium then finally back to London where we repacked and were on the plane back home.

A few little tips I picked up would definitely be when travelling around try not to look like a tourist by wearing excessive gear e.g. cameras and massive backpacks they make you stand out like everyone else and you will get hassled by the people on the streets trying to sell stuff, and also get a cheap sim card from a phone shop if you don’t already have global roaming so you can use Google maps it is a life saver.

This trip has opened up my mind to how much I can learn overseas and the possibility of moving back overseas in the future to pursue my career.

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