Graduate Storeys: coffee festivals, wine tasting and a trip to Brigade

The build up to Christmas has been a whirlwind! From wine training and Barista Championships, to Christmas parties galore. Oh, and not forgetting all the training courses in between.

I was lucky enough to be asked to cover the general manager’s annual leave at one of our London-based locations, The Canteen. It was a great opportunity for me to learn all things management, from team briefings and client meetings, to helping write weekly menus.

The main challenge was suddenly becoming the person needed to answer all the questions, instead of asking them! Running payroll was slightly daunting, but the experience was a brilliant opportunity to take on more responsibility. Thank you, Alex, for leaving your team in my trusted hands!

I’ve been to a few training sessions, including finance and people management. Learning about diversity, employment law and grievances was interesting, and a real eye-opener to see another aspect of the business.

My favourite training course so far is the WSET Level 1 – an introduction to wine. I underestimated how much there was to learn. From the wine making process and common grape varieties, to the principles of food and wine pairing.  We also sampled the wines which helped us remember the theory, whilst also being great fun!

It was an intense course and came with an exam at the end, of which I passed, thankfully. The knowledge I’ve gained from the session has already come in handy, particularly during my hospitality module. Trainers Gabrielle and Herve were so passionate and knowledgeable about the wine industry; if anyone hasn’t been on the course, I recommend you do!

As I’m nearing the end of my hospitality and fine dining module, I was fortunate to work with an amazing team on an annual fine dining event, serving an incredible seven course dinner. The burnt peach and chocolate crumble was my favourite! I have a new-found appreciation for the long hours that goes into organising events like these. Even though polishing the cutlery can take hours until they’re gleaming, it’s taught me that attention to detail is so important.

It would be wrong to talk about my highlights over the past month without mentioning the Graduate Christmas party! It has been such a long time since we were all together, including with our mentors Sharon and Stephanie. It was held at the newly-refurbished Brigade, an incredible social enterprise restaurant, helping individuals at risk of homelessness develop the skills to find employment in hospitality.

Simon Boyle, the founder of Beyond Food and Brigade spoke to us about the Foundation; it was inspiring to hear about the personal journey of one his apprentices. It really is a remarkable charity, and I can’t wait for my next visit, as I need to work my way through their delicious menu!

Emma Huskie

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