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Introduction

Welcome to my new blog! I am a Chef. I have been running my own catering business for over 10 years now. It is time to change the direction of my business. This is the start of that change.

I am working on developing an online cookery course, creating videos for each element in the course. The challenge is to deliver this work as soon as possible. I have a full working professional kitchen that I work in for all the events that I have catered for and now my challenge is to open up the kitchen not only by creating the course but by running live online Cookery Sessions. For more information on this please check out my Courses page.

Through this blog I want to share each step along the way and other related food and drink thoughts.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers. you can find out more about the Guild here: http://www.gfw.co.uk

I have had a varied career from computer technologist, software developer, marketing manager, cookery school manager and business owner. These roles have helped me build my current business and hopeful given me the tools to redefine my business whilst retaining the focus on food!

The process has been fun and hard work, with lots of fun and enjoyment along the way. From weddings to private dinners, funerals to corporate events the opportunity to feed people from across the world has been amazing. I have cooked for Chinese bankers, Consultants from some of the well known companies, rowing crews from Oxford, the British Rowing Association, Aston Martin Heritage Trust, some of the UK’s larger home building companies and more.

Along the way I also founded and created a food festival that ran for five successful years, winning three awards for tourism. Cor-ordinating this event was challenging but the sense of achievement after each years festival was amazing, the feedback from the visitors positive (on the whole) and the numbers grew year on year!

If you are interested in food and drink I hope I can provide you some unique insights and views of the world of cooking, food and working in a kitchen.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions please drop me a line at Contact Paul .

Cooking under Covid-19 lockdown

Since the lockdown started in March cooking has taken on more significance for me. Planning and creating new dishes has become part of the process each day and week.

I enjoy the challenge of cooking something from the ingredients in the fridge but the planning for food required has become a weekly exercise, Deciding what to order for delivery is a highlight that we both enjoy. Initially, though the sourcing of fresh fruit and vegetables was tricky. A number of local businesses started switching from catering to box delivery schemes, which was a huge relief as the supermarkets were not geared up for the onslaught of people looking for food deliveries. Fortunately, we were able to get onto one of the supermarket’s delivery accounts and have received an order every 7-10 days!

Latterly, we have also visited our local farm shop during the week just to get good meat and fresh fish. Our first visit there was at the beginning of lockdown and it was crazy! We gave it a rest for many weeks before returning to get meat etc.

My catering work stopped abruptly on the 15 March! Everything I had booked in the diary for events and cookery courses was canceled through to July or September! Such a shock to see the diary empty out so quickly! I planned to use the time catching up with my website and social media strategy. The first priority was to look ahead and decide what I should plan for once we started to come out of lockdown.

I looked at the position of my main website and decided that I needed to make some changes.

  • Renew and revise my brand
  • Build a portfolio of recipes
  • Create and build a newsletter for the website

On the face of it sounds simple right? However, there is a huge amount of work involved and so I decided to look at redesigning my branding and that took several weeks. However, the process was worth it and the signature is what I have created.

The recipes are a different matter. I have a huge number written as part of the courses I have developed, ones I have used for many years and I know they all work. I have started the process of adding them to my main website – TheLateChef.com.

The other part of the process is to make the courses available online and to that end, I am creating downloadable PDFs for each of the courses. Then came a real opportunity, which has given me the chance to pivot my business from the situation it is now becoming an online cookery school. I responded to a call for help on Facebook, which did anyone know of someone who could do an online cookery session for their team. I responded and within two weeks had the first online cookery session delivered.

The response was positive and confirmed in my mind that this was the way forward. I have had to quickly learn to use Zoom, Microsoft Team and supporting software to enable a session to happen.

The steps are relatively simple but do take a bit of time. These are the steps I developed to deliver the session:-

  • Select recipes that would suit the audience
  • Create a document that supports the process of preparing for the event
  • Recipes, tips for preparation, shopping list, equipment list
  • Do your own preparation for the session
  • Setup the kitchen for recording and delivering the session
  • Deliver the session, collect feedback and plan for the next
Chef in action – live online cookery class!

At the same time, I have written a plan for an online cookery course with the associated support in place for those who would like to do the course. This is a much bigger project than you think!

I am recording the preparation of recipes I am currently cooking and plan to do more. These will be supported by the recipes. The recording is relatively easy once you know what you are doing, the problem comes when you don’t have the correct microphone switched on! I am also learning about video editing! A new set of skills which will develop over time. On top of this, I am also having to think about how to manage the integration between my new personal website and TheLateChef.com . More work!

By now you will have gathered that this new website reflects the redesigned branding and more importantly the new direction I am taking the business in. It is going to be a fun journey, one that I am looking forward to. If you would like to join me on this journey please register for emails from me.