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From Gopher to Head of Food: A Culinary Odyssey of Kitchens, Vineyards, and Unwavering Passion

Greetings to all food lovers, culinary connoisseurs, and those who find a little magic in every bite! I'm Luke Goold, your trusted Head of Food, and today I've decided it’s time to spill the beans—a narrative potpourri of my life, salted with experiences and peppered with insights that shaped my culinary journey.

A Taste of the Provençal Sun: Where It All Began

You might think my first foray into the food world was glamourous, but you'd be mistaken. My origin is as humble as they come. My entry ticket into this culinary odyssey was a role as a "gopher" in my aunt’s rustic, sun-drenched restaurant in the picturesque South of France. It was a world away from my home in England, and I was hooked.

Imagine a young lad weaving through a bustling kitchen, each time carrying something different: a handful of basil fresh from the garden, a jug of olive oil, or sometimes, an errant spatula. "Go for this, go for that," they'd shout, hence the name "gopher." It was here, amidst the mouth-watering aroma of bouillabaisse and the cacophony of chefs bellowing orders, that my love affair with food began.

As I got older, my role expanded. I would accompany my aunt and the chefs to the local markets. Ah, the markets! They were a cacophony of scents and colours. Tables brimming with ripe tomatoes and strings of garlic, fresh langoustines so animated they seemed ready to leap off the table, and duck breasts meticulously weighed to ensure they were just the right size for the evening's confit. I felt like a pirate amid buried treasure, a treasure that smelt like heaven and tasted even better.

The Teenage Years: Back in England, Master of Pots and Pans

My summers in France were idyllic, but I had to return to the real world—or my hometown in England, to be precise. My next rite of passage? The pot wash. The teenage me found himself amidst a labyrinth of plates, saucepans, and cutlery. Scrub, rinse, repeat; it became my mantra. I was responsible for ensuring everything was spotless in a hotel that wore multiple hats: a main hotel, a pub, a restaurant, and even a grand Banqueting Hall that seemed to host an endless stream of weddings and Christmas soirées.

It was a laborious task, but the tedium was laced with intrigue. I was like an anthropologist, deciphering clues about guests and their celebrations based on the remnants they left behind on their plates. As I washed, I imagined the laughter and conversation that surrounded each dish, transforming my chore into a series of short stories that only I could hear.

A Symphony of Roles: Sommelier, Chef de Partie, and More

Time flew, and before I knew it, I was stepping into larger shoes. From behind-the-bar experiences in exclusive whiskey lounges to mastering the art of Silver Service—each role was a different verse in my ongoing culinary symphony. I graduated to become a chef de partie, a sous chef, and eventually managed restaurants. No job was too small or insignificant; from designing ambitious menus to creating flavour profiles that danced on the palate.

Then came my stint as a sommelier. Now, imagine this—a trip to vineyards near Paris, studying the art of champagne. Sipping, swirling, sniffing; I discovered an entirely new universe within each glass. The vineyards were not just fields; they were living libraries, each grape a paragraph in an epic tale of soil, weather, and hard work.

The Philosophy of Food: Lessons in Respect and Mutual Dependence

Now, you might wonder, "What's the common thread through all these experiences?" It’s the people. Whether it was the tireless pot washers or the mercurial head chefs, everyone mattered. In this seemingly hierarchical ecosystem, I saw a democracy of skills. Each role, however minor it appeared, was a gear in a well-oiled machine. Your crème brûlée may be heaven on a spoon, but it wouldn't be possible without the person who cleaned that spoon, would it?

I even spent time in housekeeping and hospital cleaning. Odd detours, you might think, but they instilled in me the discipline of hygiene—a crucial, often overlooked aspect of our industry. Each of these experiences, from scraping pans to selecting wines, taught me the irreplaceable value of respect and collective effort.

The Endless Journey: From Farm to Fork

People often ask me, "Don't you ever get tired of it?" And my answer is a resounding no. How could you tire of something that changes every day? From visits to turkey farms during Christmas, understanding the intricacies of livestock, to the very boats that haul in fresh catches from the Mediterranean—it's a story that never stops being written. Each chapter enriches me, adds another layer to my understanding of this incredible world of food.

So, there you have it—the inside scoop on my culinary odyssey, a journey that I am grateful for every single day. A journey that I continue to make, discovering something new at every turn. And while my official title now reads "Head of Food," in my heart, I'm still that little gopher, forever fascinated by the endless stories that food has to tell.

Until our next culinary escapade,

Luke Goold, Head of Food.

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תגובה אחת

Martins Strals
Martins Strals
05 בספט׳ 2023


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