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Diploma Work Experience Diaries: Charlotte Bruce at COOK!

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Diploma Work Experience Diaries: Charlotte Bruce at COOK!

Current Diploma student Charlotte Bruce tells all about her recent work experience placement at COOK! frozen ready meal business.

For my Diploma work experience in a commercial setting, I went to COOK, the frozen meal and pudding producer, in their developmental kitchen. There are many different placement options to go for, all set up by Leiths List (Leiths own chef recruitment agency), such as Rick Stein's, The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow, Heston Blumenthal's The Hinds Head or Rocket Catering; but for me going to COOK was the opportunity to experience this particular sector of the industry I am interested in as a future career, as well as use the skills I have learnt at Leiths so far.

The whole experience was really great, from the initial introductions to COOK to really getting involved with how the business runs.

First I was given a tour of their kitchens and food preparation areas - on the factory floor so to speak - to give me a good understanding of the company and how they make their meals. I was kitted out in hair nets, overalls and safety shoes going through stringent hygiene procedures. I spent time in the Preparation Department - chopping vegetables and slicing chicken (knife skills practice!) – all fresh and whole. What was most surprising is how much is handmade, there’s very little mechanisation - everything is much like your kitchen but scaled up and it’s all recognisably food that you might have in your kitchen cupboard.

The other days were full on in the development kitchen, making gravy from scratch, helping with a cherry jam and making a batter for a sponge cake to be used in a new product, then testing the product. Alongside this was also all the measurements and weights, which are continuously taken and recipes tweaked to come out with the best tasting product.

I sat in on many quality assurance meetings, tasting food in development and in production, thinking about not just the taste, but the texture and the look of the product amongst others. It was an amazing week seeing how things work in a development kitchen but also in COOK as a whole from being at the sharp end (with my honed knife skills!) to experiencing how decisions are taken. My time with COOK has given me some really solid and well rounded experience.

For more information on the Leiths Diploma in Food & Wine, events and opportunities, click here or head to our Diploma Hub.

Author: Charlotte Bruce- Diploma Student

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