How to cook the perfect roast potato

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12/21/2020

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Crunchy, golden, fluffy. Yes, we’re talking about roast potatoes. And we like to think we know what we’re talking about when it comes to the perfectly roasted spud.According to 89% of the British public, roast potatoes are an essential trimming if you’re plating up the ideal roast dinner. These golden spuds blow all the other trimmings out the water, even Yorkshire puddings. Now it’s settled that a roast dinner isn’t complete without the potato, next we all need to agree on how to roast them to perfection. We’re going to share out top tips for how to cook the perfect roast potato that will leave your dinner guests with something to talk about… if you can bring yourself to share them out.Step 1 – Get things hot in the kitchenFirst things first, fire up that oven. Now, they say if you can’t stand the heat, get out the kitchen. But if you’re anything like Mohammed, who said cooking in a busy kitchen is the best part of a chef job, then that won’t be a problem. Start by setting the temperature to 200C or 180C for a fan oven. Step 2 – Peel and chopGrab your kilogram of potatoes and get prepping. Learning how to prep food is the first and most important thing any chef will learn to do. After all, prep work is the key to a chef’s success. Don’t be fooled into thinking a kitchen assistant is confined to slicing and dicing. No, they also learn how to chop julienne style, prepare meat and fillet fish – which, according to Paulo, was a highlight of his chef apprenticeship with M&B. Okay, back to the potatoes. Peel them and cut them into evenly sized pieces, around 5cm.Step 3 – Boil themGet those chopped potatoes into a large pan and add enough water so they’re just covered. You want to add cold water, otherwise, the outside will cook faster and we’re aiming for perfection here, remember. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and once the water has reached the boiling point, reduce it to a simmer and cook for another 2 minutes.Step 4 - Time to fluff it upOnce they’re out the water and left to cool for a few minutes, pop them back in the pan with a lid on and give them a rustle them around. You want to fluff up the outside of the potatoes but go gently or you’ll open the pan to mashed potatoes. Fluffing is an essential step. Miss it and we’re sorry to say you won’t come close to the crispy roasties that our chefs lovingly prepare at Toby Carvery. Finally, sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of plain flour and give it another little shake to coat them – this will help them get that delicious crunch.Step 5 – Into the ovenYour oven should be hot now, but for the potatoes to crisp up nicely you need to be popping them into piping hot oil or fat. Place the roasting tin in the oven with 5 tablespoons of goose fat, olive oil or butter and leave until it’s at maximum heat – around 3-5 minutes. If you’re a garlic fan (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?) here’s your moment. Mince 6 cloves and combine it with the oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of pepper and 2 tablespoons of parsley or another herb.Carefully spoon the potatoes onto the pan and mix them so they’re coated in the hot fat. Leave them for 15 minutes, then turn them and roast for another 15 minutes. Flip them around once more and then back in they go for 10-20 minutes, until they’re goldened to your liking. Learn from the very best chefs at M&BLearning how to cook the perfect roast potato is surely a life skill that should be taught in school? Okay, maybe not quite but we do teach our chefs how to make these melt-in-your-mouth roast potatoes along with lots of other signature dishes and sides.If you’re interested in learning from the very best, you won’t find a place better than M&B. Every member of the kitchen team receives the training they need, whether that’s learning how to grill the perfect steak at Miller & Carter, toss pizza dough at Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery or plate up the perfect Sunday roast at Toby Carvery. Find out more about our chef apprenticeships at M&B.

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We’re going to share out top tips for how to cook the perfect roast potato that will leave your dinner guests with something to talk about… if you can bring yourself to share them out.

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Steph  Baker

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Steph Baker

Steph  Baker

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Steph Baker

Step up to the plate with a chef apprenticeship

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Apprenticeship

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12/11/2020

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Have you got an appetite for learning? Then a chef apprenticeship could be the perfect way to take your passion for food to the next level.When you think of a chef career it’s hard not to picture Gordon Ramsey’s high-pressure kitchen or Jamie Oliver campaigning for healthier school dinners. But did you know that both these celebrity chefs started as a chef apprentice? And they’re not the only ones; Clare Smyth, the only female chef to run a three Michelin star restaurant; Heston Blumenthal, who gifted the world with triple-cooked chips among other wonderful inventions; and Masterchef judge, Monica Galetti, also started their careers with a chef apprenticeship. Read on to hear how a chef apprenticeship can kickstart your culinary career.Learn by doingIf classroom learning doesn’t tickle your taste buds then an apprenticeship could be just for you. The programmes are great for anyone that learns best by doing and likes to get stuck into a task. Of course, you will have coursework to do but you’ll get to use that learning when you’re back in the kitchen. Not only that, but you’ll earn while you get on-the-job training and learn the ropes under the watchful eyes of talented chefs. And remember, you’re never too old to learn and so you’re never too old to do an apprenticeship.Become a culinary whizA chef apprenticeship will teach you how to plate up food to perfection and learn how to make those melt-in-the-mouth dishes and sides that are our guests’ favourites - like our triple cooked chips (thanks Heston). But more than that, you’ll learn all the basics which just so happen to be the most important parts. After all, learning how to prep food, garnish and knowing how to keep a kitchen clean is what makes a great chef. Taking it back to the basics will also help you see what you’ve got a natural flair for, and you’ll be whipping up recipes at home and impressing your friends and family in no time.Boost your confidenceIf there was a checklist for what you need to do chef apprenticeship, it would look something like this: a passion for cooking, a team player, ambition and did we mention a passion for food?The rest of the skills you need to be a successful chef will all be taught to you. Because learning your way around the kitchen is no piece of cake there is a lot to learn when you enrol on a chef apprenticeship. After completing the programme you’ll come out with loads of experience, knowledge and as a result, you’ll get a huge boost to your confidence.Have funA job is all about finding that balance between work hard and play hard. Our chef apprentices will vouch for us when we say there’s plenty of time for fun on a chef apprenticeship and it’s just one of the five reasons why you’ll love an apprenticeship with M&B. If you’re willing to put in the hard work you could be a head chef one day, or if it’s your dream to specialise you can prove yourself as a talented roast chef – or a rotisseur if we’re using the fancy brigade de cuisine terms.Get a taste for a chef apprenticeship at M&BSo, reckon you could be a chef? With the help our of dedicated kitchen teams you can turn your passion into a chef career. Now we’ve given you a taste for what to expect from a chef apprenticeship you can get more of the details on our chef apprenticeships. Or to hear first-hand from one of our chef apprentices, read Joao Paulo’s experience of gaining his Commis Chef Level 2 certificate.

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Have you got an appetite for learning? Then a chef apprenticeship could be the perfect way to take your passion for food to the next level.

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Emily Smith

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Emily Smith

Emily Smith

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Emily Smith

Chef Tom's top 6 recipes that you can whip up during lockdown

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Culture

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11/12/2020

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Cooking can be that part of the day when you steal a little bit of ‘you time’. And to help you find your inner culinary master we spoke to Tom, Kitchen Skills Trainer at Nicholson’s. Tom decided to start a YouTube channel during the first lockdown to share some of his favourite recipes with our teams and keep spirits high. Tom started his chef career in 2006, before joining us as a Kitchen Manager at All Bar One six years ago. During this time he’s worked in various roles and has had the opportunity to work across 10 of the 13 different brands at M&B. He’s shared his top 6 recipes that you can whip up at home and the great news is that you don’t need to have worked in a chef job for years to make these meals a success.Chilli con carneWe’ve got to spill the beans on this one – that’s right, time to get cooking with kidney beans.This one is a classic and when it’s done right it’s the ultimate comfort food dinner. The best part about a chilli con carne is that you’ll only need one pan so you’re not left with a sink full of washing up. FajitasHere’s another recipe to spice things up a little. Fajitas are one of the easiest meals to whip up and when made with fresh ingredients it’s really cheap too. If you’re feeling fancy and want to make your seasoning from scratch it actually only takes a minute. But if your spice rack is still at a novice stage then you can pick up a pack of seasoning and you’ve got all the flavoured mixed up for you. This one’s proof that you don’t have to have a kitchen career behind you to serve up dishes packed with flavour. Stir FryWe’re taking you to another corner of the globe with one of the quickest and tastiest dishes – the stir fry. For your protein, you can pick between chicken, beef or tofu and as for the veg here’s your chance to get in as many as possible. Choose from peppers, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli and baby corn. And you know that famous phrase – wok hard, play hard. Flattened fillet steakNow you’re looking to impress with your cooking skills you’ll want a recipe that is easy to follow but will show that you know your way around a kitchen - enter the flattened fillet steak. Chef Tom serves his up with a rocket and parmesan salad and his top tip is to open the steak from the vacuumed packet around 20-30 minutes before cooking to let the meat breathe. You’ll be grilled with happiness after this meal! Pitta bread pizzaChef jobs teach you how to make a lot from a little and that definitely true with this recipe. All you need is to grill your pita bread, make a quick tomato base and top it with your favourites foods and any leftovers. Five minutes under the grill and they are good to go. With no dough to roll out, you could say this recipe isn’t kneady at all. Spiced roasted butternut squashLooking for a warm and hearty dish? This soup is rich, creamy and packed full of goodness. And any head chef worth their salt would know that it’s got to be served it up with a side of crusty bread. Whichever is your bread of choice – sourdough, ciabatta or a classic roll - just make sure you soak up every last drop of this super soup. Got a taste for more…These are some of our favourite recipes from Tom’s Teas YouTube channel and they’re definitely a feast for the eyes and the stomach. Perhaps you’re just discovering your passion for cooking and want some easy but delicious recipes. In that case, why not feed that curiosity and find out whether you could be a chef.

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Tom, Kitchen Skills Trainer at Nicholson's, has shared his top 6 recipes that you can whip up at home during lockdown. Take a look at them here:

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Steph  Baker

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Steph Baker

Steph  Baker

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Steph Baker

4 reasons why you're never too old to do an apprenticeship

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Apprenticeship

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Blog

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10/23/2020

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Apprenticeships were once just for 16-24 year olds so when you think of the programme chances are you immediately think of young adults who are fresh out of school. But not long ago the maximum age limit was scrapped and just last year 46% of apprentices in the UK were over 25-years-old - a huge jump in the numbers. We’re here to tell you that the programme is for people of all backgrounds and experience levels and dish up four reasons why you’re never too old to do an apprenticeship.It’s not about age, it’s about your attitudeIn case we haven’t made it clear already, we’ll say it one more time – apprenticeships aren’t just for young people. These programmes give an equal opportunity to everyone, offering the chance to train in a new area of work and start earning a living – one of the five reasons you’ll love an apprenticeship with M&B. So, what’s your story? Maybe you’ve been switching between industries to find what you’re good at or you fancy a challenge. Whatever you background, you’ll be happy to know that it won’t affect your chances of getting onto an apprenticeship. All you need is to be a team player, have a can-do attitude and a willingness to learn. You can rediscover your passion for learningIf you’ve been out for education or in a job for some time, chances are you won’t have been flexing your brain muscles as much as you could have been. You can still thrive in an apprenticeship and see it as your chance to rediscover your passion for learning. You’ll have better time-management skills and balancing your shifts with coursework will come much easier to you. Let’s be honest, classroom learning isn’t for everyone and if you’re anything like our apprentice Hannah then it can be a frustrating way to learn. An apprenticeship programme might be the perfect choice for you, placing you in control of how and when you learn.You’ll bring a unique outlookTeams that are made up of people from different areas, genders and with one age gap of 20 years are 87% better at making decisions – that’s an impressive difference but what makes them a dream team? Well, people from different backgrounds have their own way of doing things – a unique outlook. Those extra years may be just what an employer is looking for to add a little diversity to the team, so don’t let it put you off from applying! After all, they do say that with age comes wisdom.Your communication skills are invaluableCommunication is one of the top transferrable skills that employers look out for when searching for the next member of their team. So, you’re a great talker and could give any salesperson a run for their money, but when it comes to communication it’s also about being a great listener. Yes, some people are naturals when it comes to communication but for most people, it’s a skill that comes with time. The great news for you is that those extra years can make you more qualified for an apprenticeship programme.Fancy taking on a new challenge?Some of our most talented and ambitious colleagues join the company through an apprenticeship programme and we’re looking for more fun and driven people to join the M&B team. If you’re ready to serve up some success, a bar and waiting apprenticeship could be for you, or apply for our chef apprenticeships and show us you know your way around a kitchen. And that’s not all we’ve got – our management apprenticeships are the perfect opportunity to show you’re a born leader.

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Emily Smith

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Emily Smith

Emily Smith

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Emily Smith

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