Check out Rosie’s time at Crane’s, what she loves about being a chef and what it’s like working for Social Pantry
Hi Rosie! Firstly, we’re so happy to have you back on the Social Pantry team and heading up our vibrant little café-restaurant Crane’s Kitchen in Peckham.
You’re on an exciting three-month residency at Crane’s, how does the residency style of working vary from a usual chef job and what would you say are the best bits about it?
Freedom to write my own kind of menus gives me a lot of autonomy in the kitchen, and allows me to cater to the food preferences of our customers which I love. It’s also great to get feedback from our customers first hand.
So far, the hours have been really good which means I have been able to put lots of energy into what I’m doing.
Peckham itself is such a fun area, there’s so much going on. It’s been great to get to know a new place and the team here are all really friendly and fun. The South London Gallery (our neighbours) is beautiful – the lovely garden at the back is a summertime haven!
What brought you to the life of cooking and what would your tips be to anyone thinking about a career in the culinary world?
My mum passed away when I was 19 and I spent 6 months at home following that. In that time I used cooking as a form of distraction. I loved planning the meals and going shopping, then making meals for my family. Cooking became an activity in which I could channel my creativity and it very quickly became a passion. I love cooking for others and relish the opportunity to write menus based around their preferences. I can honestly say I LOVE my job.
I finished out my degree at Durham then went straight to Ballymaloe in Ireland to begin my journey to becoming a chef.
My top tips to anyone thinking of beginning a culinary career are:
- Be prepared for long hours.
- Eat out lots – and get inspired
- Look after yourself, this means taking a break, eating well, making sure you get enough sleep – then you’ll really enjoy your work and won’t burn out.
If you could organise/cook a dinner party for anyone (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
There’s no one in particular I’d love to cook for; I love cooking for anyone who is enthusiastic about food, loves eating it and is willing to give constructive feedback. There’s nothing worse than cooking for someone who doesn’t really care what they’re eating.
What do you enjoy about Social Pantry and how do we differ from other establishments?
Social Pantry is a company which focuses on providing really exciting and appealing food in a beautiful way. Every dish has an interesting twist. There’s also a big emphasis on the quality of the produce we use in our dishes – ensuring that everything is fresh and seasonal is important to everyone. Within the company there are so many different parts to learn from and we all work very closely bouncing ideas off one another.
The social side of the company is also a lot of fun which basically means I work alongside friends rather than colleagues.
What is you desert island meal?
My mum’s cottage pie.
What is your favourite ingredient to cook with?
Cauliflower, it’s so versatile and probably one of the best vegetables when roasted.
You have worked in both the events/catering and now the restaurant side of Social Pantry; how do they differ and what do you enjoy about both?
Catering I learnt a lot about being systematic in the process of getting the food ready for a big event in advance. It’s so important to be organised and prepared in order to guarantee delicious food which still tastes fresh.
In terms of working in a restaurant I enjoy how reactive you have to be and often get to see the client’s reaction to the food first hand which like I mentioned earlier enables you to shape your menu based on your client’s preferences.
You’ve just come back from your travels across the globe, what was the craziest and most interesting thing you ate?
Israel has amazing produce and a very well established set of flavours they stick to. They are well versed at the dishes they do and perfect then every time. If chickpeas aren’t your thing I’d give it a miss.
In Thailand I went to Bolan, one of Bangkok’s Michelin star restaurants, which prides itself on recreating traditional Thai dishes with all the original ingredients before they were adapted for tourism. It was a unique experience with the first course served in the kitchen. I had a deep-fried gold fish which was different, the whole experience was made even more memorable by the drunk Canadian man I took with me because my friend had food poisoning on the day. Obviously, I also sampled the delights of kosarn road- I probably won’t be having a scorpion again.
For me, the fresher the produce the better the dish and this was reflected in a lot of the food I had in Bali.
Finally, what’s your favourite foodie joke!
I feel like there are a few EGG-celent ones out there but I can’t think of anything at the moment.