Budding cooks’ flying visit to the asparagus farm

08/28/2017: Cook apprenticeship at HELM

Since September 2016 our Company Restaurant has also provided young, motivated cooks with apprenticeships, including the three of us: Jona Sahnen, Nicole Abuchaibe Nobmann and me, Elise Scholl.

Our Company Restaurant caters for up to six hundred HELM employees every day, as well as the Company’s little kindergarten visitors and their teachers. We also prepare individual meals for internal events. We offer almost everything, from fruit baskets to buffet lunches.

We start at 7 a.m. every morning by putting on our bright white HELM chef coats. After that, we receive all incoming goods from our various suppliers, check them thoroughly and then quickly process them.

After a team meeting we get things going with our ‘mise en place’ (French for ‘preparatory work’). These tasks vary, depending on what needs to be done – we clean, slice and process vegetables, or portion, season and fry fish and meat, just to mention a few of the tasks.

Apart from these main tasks we have enough leeway to incorporate our own ideas and train vital basic skills such as preparing gravies and sauces, practising slicing techniques, or trying out new salad creations. We also get to prepare desserts such as mousse au chocolat, puddings and Bavarian crème. In this regard, Peter Weise, our supervisor and Restaurant Chef, is very open-minded and this helps us prepare for our interim exams as well as possible. 

This summer we took two tours outside the company. We paid our asparagus farmers, the Meyer family from the Sattelhof Estate, a visit – they deliver the fresh asparagus to our door. In the 2017 season we bought no less than 1.3 tonnes of asparagus from them! We also stopped by the Waidmannsruh Inn, where we learned all there is to know about asparagus. We cut asparagus out in the field, and then prepared various tasty asparagus variations that ranged from starters to Desserts.

Apart from the practical section of our training there is of course a theory section too. These classes take place at the State Vocational School for Catering and Nutritional Professions (Staatliche Gewerbeschule Gastronomie und Ernährung) in Hamburg, in blocks of five to six weeks at a time.

Elise Scholl
(Apprentice Cook)