Hello who are you and how are you today ?
Hello, my name is Tara. I am half Lebanese and half French. I am 20 years old and I recently received my intermediate certificate from Le Cordon Bleu London.
What did you have for breakfast ?
Unfortunately I don’t really have breakfast in the morning. Even though it is said to be the most important meal of the day. 😋 If I ever do have breakfast it is usually a bowl of chocolate flavoured cereal with whole milk, not that fancy.
What’s Your favourite dish to eat ?
To be honest I can’t really pick a favourite dish, but I would have to say it is either Yellowtail Tiradito or Uni Ikura Don (also know as sea urchin and salmon roe rice bowl). I’m a big fan of Japanese food.
Tara cooks Sea Bream Tartar marinated in mango/lime. Topped with passion fruit and mango julienne.
Which cuisine do you enjoy making most ?
Definitely Japanese cuisine.
What’s your favourite drink ?
My favorite alcoholic drink would have to be Margaritas. Not the frozen one but on the rocks. My favorite non alcoholic drink would most probably be coconut water.
What is the worst food combination you have come across ?
This a though question. I would have to say bok choy, mushrooms and cheese pizza which I had a couple of nights ago. I personally find it odd. But maybe that’s just me haha..
What are you working on ?
At the moment I am working on expanding my general knowledge in food. I find learning about other cultures very important for a chef.
What do you think will be the responsibilities of your job ?
I am not working at the moment, but once I do my responsibility would have to be ensuring my customers are happy with what I’ve put out on a plate.
What will be the challenges of your job ?
The challenges I would face once I start working in the kitchen would most probably be being put under pressure.
What will you enjoy most about your job ?
I enjoy being creative and testing out different flavours. Cooking is a lot like art, our canvas is our plate.
In which sector of the food Industry would you like to go into ?
So far I would have to say working in the kitchen as a cook, but I’ve acquired a love for food photography/styling over the past couple of months.
If you were to open a restaurant, what would you call it ?
Unfortunately I won’t be able to share it with you. It is top secret 😋
Where would you like to be in the next five years, 10 years ?
In the next five years I see myself either working in a renowned restaurant or starting my own cooking show on BBC. In 10 years I would like to see myself opening my own restaurant.
Tara serves Cucumber Gazpacho topped with prawn ceviche.
Can you tell us something that goes on in the kitchen that we don’t see ?
Something that goes on in the kitchen that we don’t see I would have to say is wastage. Head chefs are very picky. If an ingredient is cooked wrongly it goes straight in the bin.
Can you give us 3 tips for a person who can’t cook to start cooking ?
Firstly you need to enjoy and have some sort of passion for cooking. Secondly pick up a cookbook and attempt cooking the easiest dish. Once you’ve succeeded, go on into cooking something a little more complicated. Cooking is all about organisation and skill. Lastly be creative, try combining some of your favourite ingredients and see if it merges well together.
How do you balance work/leisure ?
I remembered one of the Chefs telling me in school. “Forget about having a social life when your a Chef.” You barely have time for yourself. That is still for me to discover, but I’m pretty sure he’s right.
Best way to distress from the kitchen ?
Spending time with family and friends. Taking a break from your daily routine.
What advice would you give someone going who wants to go into the food industry ?
This industry is very tough. You shouldn’t have a strong personality when starting out your career. Get ready to be treated poorly, but that just pushes you to strive for perfection.
Best Life advice you’ve been given ?
I would have to say my dad once told me “Serving something mediocre should not be in ones book” meaning never settle for just “okay”.
What key lessons would you have learned from cooking school ?
The most important key lesson I’ve learnt from culinary school is definitely speed and organisation. Cooking is based around these two attributes. If you want to guarantee yourself a good position in the kitchen you must be quick and organised. I honestly never thought this would be important before I started culinary school.
Tara styles a Charcuterie plate
What are your secrets to succeeding in the kitchen?
My secret to succeeding in the kitchen and career wise as a chef would be “improve your culinary skills as much as possible and learn from other people.” Learning is very important in life. Lastly always look for something original which you can offer and that distinguishes you from other chefs. You need to have your own identity.
Where are you going now ?
Discovering the world!
Keep up with Tara: @taranajem