Kiwi's dream job in Ramsay kitchen

HELL'S KITCHEN? Success is sweet for top pastry chef Pauline Nunns who travelled to London to see her protege Samantha Dinsdale, inset,  make it at a two-star Michelin restaurant owned by Gordon Ramsey.
HELL'S KITCHEN? Success is sweet for top pastry chef Pauline Nunns who travelled to London to see her protege Samantha Dinsdale, inset, make it at a two-star Michelin restaurant owned by Gordon Ramsey.

Success is sweet - particularly when a top pastry chef gets to see one of her proteges make it at a two-star Michelin restaurant in London.

Petone pastry expert Pauline Nunns, twice named New Zealand's "pastry chef of the nation", has returned home from a week observing one of her former students footing it with the best chefs in the elite Knightsbridge establishment Petrus.

It is one of a string of restaurants operated by Gordon Ramsay Holdings, a company owned by the short-tempered chef with a flair for raw language as much as fine food.

Ms Nunns, who has met Ramsay previously, describes him as "a lovely guy" who knows his food and has a recruitment network to hire the best.

And the best in this case is Samantha Dinsdale, 23, who had been on the staff at Petrus just three months when she was invited by head chef Marcus Wareing to head its pastry section.

After accepting the offer, one of Ms Dinsdale's first questions was to ask him if Ms Nunns, her friend and former WelTec tutor, could spend time observing kitchen staff, who routinely work 18-hour days, on the job.

"What an opportunity to see what was going on in the industry," Ms Nunns said. "Everything has to be spot on. It is really like an orchestra."

Every elaborately arranged plate of food sent out of the restaurant kitchen had to get the head chef's approval before it reached the diner.

Ms Nunns, who has worked in restaurant kitchens from America to Antarctica, said the overall care and flair at Petrus took the cake.

It is set to scale even greater heights when Petrus discovers next January whether it has been awarded three-star Michelin status.

The Dominion Post