The Calm Before The Storm: Leiths Diploma, Week 3


Asian Mario strikes again…

Happy to say that this past week there were no tears! It was actually a relatively calm week, possibly because it was week 3 when they anticipated all the students would be exhausted so we had our first long weekend scheduled (they give us a few long weekends instead of a half term), possibly also because we had our first test on Thursday and they were giving us time to study; either way, this week was nice and quiet in the kitchens but still packed full of essential learning.

Macaroni Cheese, Shepherd’s Pie & Fish Pie – my potato piping is the bomb.

On Wednesday we had our first proper timing exercise with fish pies served strictly by 4pm that afternoon but, luckily, the process went relatively smoothly. Making white sauce is something I’m well versed in (plus we had made it the day before) so it wasn’t too bad and, happily, I did actually manage to get my food served bang on time. Everyone in our class did, except for one girl who had been absent the day before.

However, though I was now pretty much healthy by this point, it seemed that week 3 was the week of the plague for the rest of the year. Coughs, sniffles and even a couple of tummy bugs saw people drifting in and out of classes, and personally, on the Tuesday, I somehow managed to trip over my own feet on my way to school and skin my knee. Yep, I definitely felt like a 6-year-old! It was so badly skinned it actually started bleeding through my chef’s pants and I had to be bandaged up in reception! Could I feel any more like a child? There were also two accidents which saw students sent to the local A&E in cabs, one involving boiling water and the other a potential strained ligament.

Geeks are cool, innit.

Okay, so I’ve learned that I’m a massive geek. A big, fat, food geek. I don’t even care that I am – I love learning about food, every single minute detail, and every day when I get home from school I write up notes into my revision book from that day’s demonstration, then I read what will be in the following day’s demonstration and make notes, including diagrams because I know myself, I’m a visual person, if I draw it out I remember it.

When you get to my age and you’ve spent most of your life in education it’s not hard to figure out how you learn. I know that, for me, it’s a case of repetition, passion and visual aids, so in my revision book I have pasta drawings, I have chicken diagrams, I have all sorts of random, wonderful bits of information and it works for me. Thursday’s test was pretty straight forward but it definitely helped that I had revised from my revision book that entire week and y’know what? I actually enjoyed it. I told my parents that I think this is the hardest I’ve ever studied – I’m not sure how they felt about that but they were glad that I was working hard and enjoying it!

So I’m a geek… but I’m pretty proud of my geekiness and I know come exam time some of my classmates will be begging me for a copy of my revision book!

Mustard grilled chicken and shortbread.

Otherwise the rest of the week went fairly smoothly – I forgot to take photos of a few things which just happens when you’re running around a kitchen frantically, but overall feedback was very good. I also had a chat with my teacher to see how I’ve been doing so far and it’s pretty much what I thought – a couple of areas to work on but otherwise doing pretty well.

I’ve started setting up a few bits of work experience here and there, too, one with my dear friend Uyen who runs the most fabulous Vietnamese supper club in Hackney (you should definitely go, I took TS for his birthday this year and we loved it) and one with the Executive Chef of a big private members club in Central London, whom I met by chance at a quiz last week. I also asked at the local butcher’s, who said they’d be happy to have me whenever I wanted – I just want to learn as much as possible from as many different areas as possible! If you’d like to offer me some work experience please do drop me a line – you don’t have to pay me and I’ll even wear my whites for you!

On a final, more personal, note: this week was not just great because of the on-going fantastic learning, this week was also the week that my father was awarded a CBE from the Queen and I was lucky enough to get to join him at Buckingham Palace with my brother, uncle and my father’s partner. It was a truly, truly special occasion and I was so very proud of him – okay, so I lied, I did cry this week but it was only because I was so proud and happy that as we were leaving the Palace, I hugged my father tight and started tearing up a bit. Absolutely fantastic day.

Amazingly, the following day my mother jumped out of a plane to raise money for her homeless charity that she runs in West London! So you see, I have rather big shoes to fill – I guess I’ll have to aim for a Damehood as I jump out of a plane?!

Anyway, that’s all for now, time for me to hit the hay and hope that this week goes just as smoothly as the last. Until next time, peace and love.

Jax x

2 Responses to “The Calm Before The Storm: Leiths Diploma, Week 3”

  1. Karin@yumandmore Says:

    Wow Jackie what a week!! I love following your adventures and I found you fascinating family awesome.
    With all the inherited glory and your own talent you are definitely bound to go far.
    Just remember to trust in yourself!

  2. Michael Toa Says:

    I am glad to hear week 3 went well. You should be proud of your geekiness!
    Congratulations to your father. What an experience! Well, it’ll be your turn one day :)

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