Alison Garwood Jones

Kitchen prep

January 1, 2018

Beans on the boil illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones

In my latest adventure, I worked as a kitchen prep cook at The Merchant Taps & Tavern.

The Christmas season was busy and they needed extra hands.

Suiting up in a fresh apron and rubber gloves, I spent each day making 40-lb meatloafs, prepping giant containers of jerk chicken marinade, mixing big bowls of fragrant apple pie filling dusted with freshly ground sticks of cinnamon, and cutting and portioning calamari into seven ounce servings. It’s been go-go-go.

Because the burners on the main line were busy for the lunch rushes, the owner set me up with a portable burner in a back kitchen so I could work independently and cook down all the apples I had peeled for the pies.

There is nothing more satisfying than adding heat to a bunch of ingredients and having them open up and flood your sense of smell. Apples, butter, sugar and cinnamon. A simple mirepoix of diced onions, carrots and celery moved around in some butter over a flame.

Bending down and breathing it in increases my sense of wellbeing.

This recipe always makes the broken state of social media seem less tragic.

This January, the owner is promoting me to salads.

The above illustration, which I drew on the line using pen and watercolour pencils, shows Greg Garson prepping the bean paste for the cheese & ale dip and a range of pies, including leek & salmon, turkey, and sweet potato.

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