What I learnt at Eleven Madison Park

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Over the past six years, Jack Bond has worked in all three Marcus Wareing Restaurants kitchens, working his way up from Commis to Sous Chef.  In acknowledgement of his hard work and dedication he was offered a placement at the three Michelin-starred restaurant, Eleven Madison Park in New York. Now Jack is back as Sous Chef at Marcus and ready to put everything he learnt during his life changing experience at EMP into action.

“During my time in at Eleven Madison Park, I learnt what it takes to be part of a team of a three Michelin-starred kitchen. Whilst I was there it won the award for ‘The World’s Best Restaurant 2017’, which was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Their team spirit is at the heart of everything they do and their core culture drives this.

EMP was a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills. In 6 months I managed to work on a few different sections. Each time I started on a new area of the kitchen I was surprised at the challenge and learning curve I was faced with.

Some of the specific techniques they use in the restaurant are different to what I have learnt before. Not only did I have to take on these new techniques, I had to learn how to do them perfectly and fast. For example, they fillet Bass completely different to how we do here.

They have a fantastic saffron and turbot dish on their ‘Eleven dishes for Eleven Madison’ menu which meant I had to fillet up to 70 turbot on their busiest days! It was amazing practise for me as I have never had to prepare fish on such a large scale.  Additionally, when I was butchering I learnt how to break down an entire pig using a bandsaw.  Again this was something new to me.

 

The restaurant organised specific training days for us where experts would come into the kitchen and impart their knowledge. During these sessions a Japanese knife maker came in to teach us how to sharpen our knives and one day we had a local farmer who broke down a goat and taught us meat ageing techniques.

Not only will the specific skills I learnt help further my career, but my time at EMP has refuelled my desire to achieve excellence. It has given me drive and ambition that I can’t wait to use back here.

I am so thankful for the people I met. My fellow chefs were inspiring and I can’t wait to cross paths with them in the future. My network has expanded amongst people of a similar age and ability and I had the chance to work with some incredible executive chefs, and even Daniel Humm on several occasions. I was asked to cook at an event with Humm and Daniel Boulud which is an experience I will never forget. All of this has given me the confidence to walk back into the 2 Michelin-starred kitchen at Marcus at management level.

 

This experience has altered me as a person, without a shadow of a doubt. I can’t remember the last time I was the ‘new guy’ so starting again in a new city really pushed me. It was awesome to be immersed in a different culture and I tried to make the most of being in one of the best cities on earth. However, trying to experience everything New York can offer is expensive. So I had to learn the importance of budgeting my money which was a huge test for me!

I am now back at Marcus and I can’t wait to share my experiences with Mark and Shauna. I have fresh ideas for new dishes that are inspired by the techniques I learnt, the flavour combinations I experienced, and the beautiful plate presentation that EMP is renowned for.  What also really impressed me at EMP and the USA was the love and respect they have for each other. Their FOH and kitchen teams together work as a coherent team. The chefs have to work on the floor to get the experience and cross over the departments. It would be great to bring that culture back to England!

 

Now as the Sous Chef at Marcus I want to instill a sense of responsibility and excellence into each chef I work with to help them progress and grow their future careers at Marcus Wareing Restaurants.”