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Carl’s ‘Stage’ At Forest & Marcy

“I’m born and bred in Oslo, Norway and qualified as a doctor from med school in June 2014, after which I worked in a hospital and as a GP for two years. I’ve always loved to cook and had been thinking about doing a long-term cookery course for a while. I cook a lot at home but I felt that I’d learnt as much as I could teach myself from TV shows and cookbooks – I’d reached a bit of a plateau. So, I started researching cookery schools around Europe online and read an article that listed Dublin Cookery School in the top 10 courses to choose from.”

“That led to me speaking to Lynda on the phone from Norway. She described the Three Month Certificate course to me and it was exactly what I’d been looking for – a course that would take my cooking to a professional level. When talking with Lynda, one of the aspects of the course that really excited me, and were unique to the school, were the chance to participate in the Pop-up restaurant nights and the opportunity to ‘stage’ at a top restaurant during the twelve weeks.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the few days I spent ‘staging’ at Forest & Marcy with chef Ciaran Sweeney. I worked as part of a team of four chefs. It was an intense experience and I learnt so much. I was keen to get the most out of the week, so I chose to work from 8am to around 10pm each day and decided to work an extra day on the Saturday after my placement had finished.”

“The most memorable part for me was getting to plate up some of the dishes. To start with, I stood next to Ciaran during service and observed everything that he did putting each of the different elements on the plate. After a while he turned to me and said “right, now it’s your turn now. I’m testing you.” It was so exciting seeing dishes that I’d plated up being sent out to customers.”

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“During the day, when the restaurant was closed, I’d help with anything and everything; I’d assemble pies and desserts, make bread, fillet fish and prep vegetables.”

Ciaran was a great teacher. He’s very passionate and extremely meticulous. It was so cool to see the end result of all of the energy he puts into each dish. The food leaving the kitchen is so consistently very good. As an outsider coming in to this new environment, it was amazing to see how he managed such a smoothly run restaurant. He was so focused during the whole day – there wasn’t anything that he didn’t notice and I suppose that’s what ensures that all of the food is of a very high standard.

“Whilst I was working there, I got to try all of the dishes on the menu. A lot of the food Ciaran serves is him taking a dish from his childhood and transforming it into an innovative high end dish and it got me thinking about how I could do the same with mine. I remember a duck dish that he served which had seven different variations of beetroot on the plate. The average diner wouldn’t necessarily notice this but I really respected the time and skill that went into producing it. There was a hazelnut sauce that he served with one of the fish dishes that was just insanely good and Ciaran was good enough to share the recipe with me.”

It was the perfect placement for me. Ciaran was my kind of guy – we both had a strong mutual respect for each other and worked really well together. I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten to ‘stage’ there!

“I’ve learnt so much in the first couple of months of my course and I’m sorry that my time at the school is coming to an end. My only worry is finding enough time to continue practising my new-found skills once I return home and start working again. I’m planning to do catering from home for friends and family in my spare time so that I can keep on evolving. I’ve enjoyed my experience in Ireland so much that I’d certainly consider a career change later down the line, either starting my own food business or working in a restaurant kitchen. Watch this space!”