Sunday 19 January 2020

Edwina Gaisford St-Lawrence - You learn more on the ground

Edwina Gaisford St-Lawrence is the owner of The Kitchen In The Castle Cookery School, situated at Howth Castle in County Dublin. (thekitcheninthecastle.com)

I can't say I excelled at school, but after doing a year-long cordon bleu course, I was employed by Justin de Blank in London, which was probably the Ottolenghi of its time.

It's a business in which you learn an awful lot more on the ground. I cooked for Justin de Blank for four years and eventually moved up the management ladder before coming back to Ireland in 2007.

I did much better in life having not gone to college, but then I'm a great believer in apprenticeships. A lot of people leave college without the ability to secure employment, but if you're starting on the ground like I did, you can have equally as many opportunities come your way.

I've learnt that everyone on your team has something to offer - you might be a kitchen porter that has some of the best ideas. Just because you have the lowest title, doesn't mean you're the least-skilled person in the room.

When I hire people, I look for enthusiasm, an ability to communicate and a love of food. You need to teach people how to cook in a relaxed and informative manner - where you picked up those skills doesn't really matter to me.

Irish Independent

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