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Anaïs et Thomas Hardy, Vincent Thomy, Jean-Luc Rallu et Estelle Passelande​​

La Chapelle-Glain (44)​​

En s’appuyant sur un modèle vertueux de polyculture, la Ferme du Moulin regroupe 5 associés et compte environ 120 ha de terres entièrement cultivées en agriculture biologique et une grande diversité de production : élevage d’agneaux solognots (race en voie de conservation) et de vaches jersiaises, produits laitiers de brebis, porcs en plein air de race Longué bayeux, pain au levain issu du blé de la ferme (variétés anciennes et panifiables) et la culture de myrtilles.
Leur production est vendue en direct, sur les marchés de Nantes et d’Angers, dans les magasins de producteurs et à travers les AMAPS.

Last Thursday, at the end of my evening service, I left my position of demi-chef de partie at “Au Petit Marguery”. I was finally enjoyng my job, I was a lot more confident and was, overall, a hell of a lot better than when I started.

So why stop then ?

Well, I guess not surprisingly for many of you, it’s because the even after only 6 weeks the stress was starting to tell on the family. We weren’t seeing enough of each other, basically. This was an obvious problem, I know, but we weren’t sure how we were going to react (to my hours at work) as a family until we tried it….until we lived it.

On the one hand I am pleased that I know that I left the job having been able to actually do the job. But of course I am disappointed to be leaving what was meant to be the kitchen where I was to take the next step and really get “stuck into” the job of professional cooking.

At the moment I can hear a lot of people saying the they “told me so”…..the restaurant business is too hard for such a late conversion, that there’s too much to learn in too short a period, that it would be too hard to step down the salary ladder, that it would be the end of my family life….well, I’ve only been “undone” on the last point, the reduced contact with the family. All of the other stuff we (me and the family, because without them I wouldn’t have got this far) were ok with.

So what next ? Well, I’m not sure, is the honest truth. I am working for atleast 3 days over the w/end with a friend who is preparing for a function / party for 200 people. I am starting to get ideas together for a web site promoting good products and good sources (shops, artisans, markets…) in Paris (a chance to work with a good friend of mine in Sweden who sets up and runs web sites – including “Chefsdiary”, as it happens). I’m also trying to organise an evening where I would cook (with my own menu) at a restaurant just a few minutes from the house. I guess that there will certainly be some temp work between now and Christmas. However, none of these are long term “solutions”.

What is sure is that I know that I am passionate about cooking and so I will simply find a means of cooking “autrement”, as they say here in France……

One last thing to say is a big “thank you” to the chef at “Au Petit Marguery”, M. Frank Laratte. C’est un “grand chef” qui sait gérer une cuisine, les individus qui s’y retrouve, la pression et les coups de feu….tout en transmettant sa passion et son humour. Il a dû surmonter des sacrés problèmes ce dernier temps dans sa vie personnelle – il les a assumés tout en gardant son professionalisme, son humour et son sang-froid. Chapeau…..et j’espère, à bientôt !!

As for the next steps, I’ll keep you up to date, as per usual.

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