Having finished college in May I was due to start work in Global Village in Dingle pretty much straight away however after winning the IT Tralee pastry competition I was afforded the opportunity to spend two weeks at Hotel Bad Schachen on a pastry stage, with some co operation from my employer I flew out to Germany for what proved to be an invaluable and thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Having never been to Germany this was going to be a new experience all-round for me. The head chef in Hotel Bad Schachen (www.badschachen.de) is Liam McMahon who has been running a master chef programme at IT Tralee for the last seven years so having worked for him in the college put me more at ease and meant I was looking forward to it all. Lindau itself is a small town in the Bodensee region and is based on Lake Consatnce, sitting in the harbour you have mountain views of Switzerland and Austria so it makes a beautiful location and the hotel itself is set on shore of the lake.
While there I was concentrating on learning as much as possible in the pastry section. Bello the pastry chef has incredible experience and was a great teacher over the course of two weeks he guided me through recipe after recipe and shared his vast pool of knowledge with me. I came back laden down with recipes and ideas and also a greater understanding of how to organise myself to get work done. The number of different cakes and desserts that are produced in the kitchen was a real eye opener and introduced me to lots of new techniques and ideas.
On my final night in the kitchen we put the Rhubarb dish that I won the
competition with on the menu in the restaurant and that was a definite highlight see picture here. During my time off I got some time to see Lindau and some of the highlights of that included a visit to a local fruit farm where I saw some amazing local produce and enjoyed some of the farms own schnapps. Another highlight was visiting Schachener Hof the restaurant of Thomas Kraus where I had one of the best meals of my life. Thomas was with Liam running the master chef event in the college in February so it was great to see him again and the food was just out of this world.
Since coming back I’ve incorporated some of the recipes at work in Global Village and even used some of the ingredients I brought back with me on the menu. I would love to have the opportunity to work there again and hopefully someday I will.
I would like to thank TJ O Connor for securing such a fantastic placement and for all his help in getting me there and back. Dan Brown for taking the time to organise the pastry competition and for all the time he spent on other competitions throughout the year and my employer Martin Bealin for giving me the time off to take advantage of what was an absolutely amazing experience. Finally I would like to thank Liam McMahon and his kitchen team and Hotel Bad Schachen for affording me the opportunity to spend time with them and learn from them, they were incredibly accommodating, fantastic hosts and made my short stay there an unforgettable one.