Former catering student, Emily Greenough, is building an award-winning career working in Michelin-starred restaurants around the world.
For her next assignment Emily, aged 24, will take a trial at three Michelin starred Eleven Madison Park in New York, recently voted the third best restaurant in the world.
But despite her accolades, it doesn’t mean she’ll be allowed to cook the turkey at Christmas: “Both my mum and nan are really good cooks and both studied catering. They are my inspiration. But I’m not allowed to cook at Christmas because they take over the kitchen, not that I mind as it gives me a break.”
Emily started her culinary journey by enrolling on a 10-week junior chef programme at Reading College whilst still at school. She said: “I’ve always been interested in catering and really enjoyed the junior chef course. Cooking felt like something I was good at, so wanting to explore that further, I enrolled onto a professional cookery programme at college.”
After graduating from college, she joined a gastropub in Berkshire, but her talents were quickly recognised and she was swiftly promoted. After 12 months, Emily moved to London, where she worked at Mayfair restaurant, 25-50.
It was whilst working at 25-50 that she entered the prestigious Chef Stagiaire Awards. Emily continues: “When I entered Chef Stagiaire I didn’t know what to expect, but it is the best decision I have ever made.”
The final 10 of the competition each had to work at a Michelin-starred restaurant for a week: “I worked at Arbutus, the first Michelin-starred restaurant I’d ever worked at. It was incredibly exciting and the cookery was at a level I’d never experienced before.”
Impressing the head chef of Arbutus won Emily a place in the final, involving a week-long stint at Dinner by Heston, a two-Michelin star restaurant, where she was finally named the winner.
“My prize was two weeks at Atelier Crenn in San Francisco working with Dominique Crenn, followed by a further two weeks in Six Senses, Zighy Bay, Oman. It was great to see the level of preparation work and how much effort was involved in creating food of such a high standard. The carrot jerky was one dish that stood out, being an ingredient that took four days to cure, marinate and dry out. I learnt so much and used new techniques I’d never experienced before, like making pearls with liquid nitrogen for a grains dish and using a dehydrator to make meringues for a salad.”
Following her success in the Chef Stagiaire Awards, Emily worked at Texture, a Michelin-starred London restaurant specialising in Nordic cuisine for six months. She then moved to France and worked firstly for Loiseau des Vignes, then Le Jardin des Remparts, both with one Michelin star and based in Buaune, Burgundy.
At Le Jardin des Remparts Emily rose to Chef de Partie, in charge of the fish section, managing other cooks and assistants in her area: “I learnt so much at Le Jardin des Remparts and I got to work with different ingredients such as sea urchins and abalone.”
Emily is spending Christmas with her family in Berkshire, before her trial at Eleven Maddison Park in New York in 2017.