By the time I graduated from Westminster Kingsway College in 2007 with a Professional Chef’s Diploma under my belt, I had already decided that there was only once place I wanted to kick-start my fledgling career. At that time, Spain was indisputably at the forefront of world gastronomy, with the likes of the Adrià brothers, the Roca brothers, Andoni Luis Aduriz and Elena Arzak holding the torch with their avant-garde, techno-emotional approach to cooking.
In the September of ’07 I packed all of my worldly possessions, upped sticks and moved to Barcelona to begin a new life.
Eleven98 Hackney Aidan Brooks
The year I spent working at Comerç 24 as one of a tight-knit band of brothers and sisters was the most life-changing experience I’d ever been through. Still wet behind the ears, those first few weeks were an utter hell. Endless mistakes and bollockings along with the physical and emotional stress of 15-hour working days while simultaneously adapting to a new culture, a new language and a level of discipline I’d never seen before. It really was an assault on the senses and the body. I was learning the true meaning of what it is to be part of a team.
After three months of working entirely unpaid, Head Chef Arnau gave me a pat on the back and offered me a full-time contract. It was then I knew I'd put myself through the proverbial mincer and come out the other side in one piece. I'd proved to myself that I was capable.
From that moment, I would never look back...