It's been another busy few weeks as I get closer to determining what my dishes are going to be about. I recently went to a workshop with a view to arming myself with the knowledge and capability to weave some magic into my dishes. Truth be told, I learnt more from my fellow chefs than I did the trainers, mind when you're talking about the likes of Sat Bains, Jason Atherton, Simon Rogan and Daniel Clifford it's hard not to be inspired. It was a great mix of culinary styles too which is always good from a creative perspective.
With just 12 weeks to the final, I'm really beginning to feel the pressure so it's great when people like 'Simon the Butcher' from Aubrey Allen offer their expertise. Aubrey Allen and Scotch Lamb have kindly donated all the lamb for my practices and Simon (the Butcher) has come up with some great ideas too. I put in my order with Seafood Scotland yesterday, as official sponsors of the Bocuse d'Or they'll be providing me with all the monkfish and langoustines that I need between now and January.
I'm really delighted with all the messages of support and the signatures on the petition, it's great to have the backing of some fantastic chefs and also to see some of the restaurant critics doing their bit.... thanks to Marina O'Loughlin and Richard Vines for their recent retweets.
Speaking of which, Bocuse d'Or Team UK is now organising a series of practice sessions which will take place at The Elephant in January. We've already had some enquiries from those keen to support us and we're now trying to fix some dates. If you'd like to come along to one of these sessions, please contact Michelle Diederichs on 07814 028 664 or email email@example.com
Next week it's off to Scotland to get to know the produce at every stage of the process. The trip has been organised by Scotch Lamb and Seafood Scotland and as well as trips to the farms and fish markets I'm booked in for a session with Andrew Fairlie - I can't wait.