This month we hear from our head chef Kate – From childhood memories of food in Tuscany to her kitchen experiences and journey to head chef here at The Good Plot.
‘Growing up in a small village in Tuscany in a British family definitely determined the way I think of food now and the Chef I became.’
The first memories of food are spending the days taking care of our vegetable garden, chickens ad rabbits. In our family and community there has always been a massive respect towards what we ate, in preparing each ingredient carefully and not wasting what we worked so hard to grow. We would reuse glass bottles to store tomato sauce, olive oil and pickles, the small amount of food waste would go back to the ground, feeding the animals.
I loved food and the meaning it had, bringing people together, a taste, a smell, sharing a recipe. Watching the older wise ladies coming back from the farm and starting cooking from the morning, all those incredible smells are still stored in my mind. The love of food kept growing and cooking for family and friends would always be a joy.
The plan though was to go at the University of Pisa studying cooperation and emergency management. After graduating I realised I needed to follow my biggest passion and decided to move to London for a year and study at Leiths school of food and wine. After the course at Leiths I got offered different jobs in restaurants in London and France and decided to work in a two michelin star in the South of France. It was probably the most challenging and exhausting place I have worked. Not knowing the language didn’t help and back then male chefs thought ‘girls’ should not be in a kitchen.
Back in London I went to work at Theo Randall at the Intercontinental for two years which I really enjoyed. I appreciated the research for the best quality ingredients and the simplicity in which they were prepared and cooked. I was eager to learn and discover different places, cuisines and techniques. Working at La Petite Maison was an eye opener. The attention to detail was astonishing together with great ingredients, techniques and team.
Sous chef at Zuma, I was in the management team for the opening of Zuma Rome and worked there for two years. Great experience being able to work closely with Japanese sushi chefs, who have an incredible knowledge and respect for the ingredients they are preparing. I achieved a better understanding of Japanese products, different techniques for preparing fish and working for a new opening definitely developed my problem solving skills.
Back in London I worked in Bocca di Lupo, Head chef in one of Theo Randall’s restaurants and then found my place at Sunbeam studios. A photography studio and event space in a listed building, I was in charge of the catering from buffet style breakfast and lunch for photo shoot crews to fine dining weddings or canapés parties.
With the pandemic things changed and I found my self without a job. Not many jobs and many chefs looking for one. I felt really lucky to find The Good Plot, it seemed like the perfect fit for me.
I worked closely with the owner, Mandy, to develop the menu and to find new ideas to give people a different offering. I put all my passion in the project as it is exactly what I believe in. Finding sustainable produce, sharing it with the community. It brings me back to my childhood in Tuscany.
I concentrate in flavours, colours and great taste. I love experimenting and trying recipes that are free from to be able to accommodate all of our customers.
It is great to love your job, to have the same ethos and to wanting to achieve the same goals and this is what I found here.
Kate Allan, Jan 2021