I went to St Francis Links for my internship in October for a month and it was a very interesting and eye opening experience. It was a exciting and a frustrating time, but at the end of the month I was sad to go. At St Francis there was a big thing about family, everyone there was extremely friendly and helpful, they pointed me in the correct direction and when I made a mistake they showed me a better way to do it.
The main station I worked at was the pizza section and helped out here and there at hot section and breakfast section and often helped by the fryer dropping chips and fish. Although that sounds very boring the events made up for it, we had multiple events ranging from Asian themed to weddings and food and wine pairings.
At the pizza Section I was responsible for stock taking of my fridge and to ensure that everything was prepped so my station would run smoothly. One of these was to make dough everyday, roll it out and make sure garnishes were ready and fridge was clean. The main specials during a a normal week would be two for one pizza on Saturdays and a fish Fry-day which would be your choice of fried fish with beer batter or fried fish with a lemon butter emulsion.
Then as I said we also had events during the week that we had to prep for, I would mainly be doing the prep for those but when the rush came I had to jump onto different sections and help out. The most common orders would be the famous Santa burger or the links platter, the burger would be prepared on the hot section and the links platter on the breakfast side of the kitchen so that was what I mainly had to help out on.
The food and wine pairing was the most exciting to be apart of my internship and the dishes we produced was spectacular, my favourite being a spiced red cabbage with venison wrapped in homemade Bacon with dark chocolate, raspberry s, with a beef jus and that was paired with a dry red wine. It was amazing to see and plate alongside Chef Johnathan. His strive for perfection is both applaudable and frustrating. If one thing was out of place or incorrect we would know quickly, but that perfection is what I strive for daily in my culinary career.
There were five sections in this kitchen with each having one person there, there were 6 people in total excluding the two scullers. The kitchen was understaffed when I arrived but that forced me to learn at a faster pace and to work under even more pressure than the average intern would be, some times during service there would only be 3 of us in the kitchen and I would be the one running the breakfast and frier section and do the occasional odd pizza order. The break.fast section would do links platters, toasties and help with burger orders. This section had a flattop grill and two different tables for crumbing, one for seafood and the other for poultry. They also had the frier next to this station as well.
Hygiene was important and had different colour boards for the various food, blue being seafood, green for vegetables, brown for cooked food, brown for red meat, yellow for poultry and white for others things like cheese. When we cleaned we used hot soapy water alongside super clean, and polycide. And when cleaning the grill and flat top we would use a stronger chemical that was kept away in the chemical storeroom.
Overall seeing all the procedures used just for cleaning and disinfecting, was eye opening and it wasn’t something I thought of much. My time at the Links was incredible and quite tough and tiring working those long shifts I would often work 11 to closing and with events it would end past 12 most times. I would mainly be working 12 to 14 hours shift with the exception of a few 8 hours shifts on a quite day. Communication was key to everyday operations and was something I struggled with but had to learn quickly, shouting out orders and how long the food had left, and telling people when to drop chips or when to start certain items was difficult at points when you just start but you learn everything as you go. My time there was honestly incredible and I will continue to have contact with the people there and will look back on this experience