Kishaan learns from best at Scottish celebrity chef's restaurant
Read time: approx 3 mins
A student who decided to follow his dream and retrain to become a qualified chef at the age of 30 has returned from an “incredible” placement at the Edinburgh restaurant of Scotland’s youngest Michelin-starred chef.
Kishaan Patel, who is in his first year of a Level 2 and 3 Professional Cookery college course at UCB, spent three weeks working with the best at The Kitchin, which is located in a whisky bonded warehouse in the old dock area of Leith.
Proprietor Tom Kitchin is known for winning a Michelin star at the age of just 29 and appearing on BBC MasterChef, Saturday Kitchen and The Great British Menu.
Seasonal produce at The Kitchin arrives fresh every day and all meat and fish is bought in whole, with butchering and filleting done in-house daily.
Spending his first week on the meat section, Kishaan had the opportunity to learn some unbelievable skills, including how to butcher a whole roe deer for venison dishes and make stocks from scratch, including veal stock, which is made every 48 hours.
He was also shown how to make the restaurant’s signature lamb and pepper sauce, guinea fowl consommé, chicken liver parfait and lamb pithivier wrapped in pancetta.
In the second week, he went onto fish, learning how to prepare hand dived scallops, whole lobsters, live langoustines, razor clams, crab, squid and mackerel.
“The team was brilliant and so patient with me,” said Kishaan, who works part-time as a commis chef at Little Blackwood in Moseley alongside his studies.
“I learnt how to make shellfish ginger and orange consommé and lobster bisque, as well as a lobster coral butter that changes colour when you add heat. I must have prepared nearly 50 lobsters over the week.”
From Nature to Plate
The 31-year-old also helped to make fresh pasta dough every morning and in line with The Kitchin’s ‘From Nature to Plate’ philosophy, accompanied head chef Lachlan to pick fresh girolles – chanterelle mushrooms - in the woods for the taster menu.
“The experience was incredible, hard at times, but I got used to it,” said Kishaan.
“The speed, energy and intensity of the kitchen was something I haven’t seen before, 14 chefs creating incredible food very fast for anything up to 260 covers a day and to such high standards - the head chef tastes and checks everything.
“The restaurant is very old school in that it’s a lot of pan work, touch and feel cooking and steaming of fish, but is rustic at the same time. Nothing goes to waste – the bones of the deer are used for stock and sauces, the rest for venison pie.”
Kishaan also got to work on the fish section during service. “It was exciting and intense,” he said. “I was shown the different garnishes and how to cook them.
“The whole placement was a great eye opener to see what is possible, and my training and the chef lecturers at UCB really helped me prepare for it. I am going to go back to the restaurant next year for game season, I can’t wait.”
Kishaan added that it was never too late to follow your dream.
“I had always loved cooking, but was working for the family firm and never took it further. When I reached 30, I decided on a career change and decided to go through with my dream of becoming a chef. It’s the best thing ever and I can’t wait to get out there and make my mark.”
UCB chef lecturer Kali Davidson said: “It’s wonderful that Kishaan had such a fantastic placement opportunity, he’s an extremely promising chef and should excel in his second and final year of his course.”
Find out more about courses and placement opportunities at the College of Food.