BITE FROM MY LIFE: PARLOUR RESTAURANT’S FUN & CREATIVE JESSE DUNFORD WOOD

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We take a seriously sought-after bite from a day in the life of Jesse Dunford Wood, the miracle maker at Parlour in Kensal Rise. Read on to find out more about this witty and passionate chef, including his family, food and work life. 

Jesse 1

 6am – Get kicked by my little boy Monty who thinks it is time to get up. Part 2 of the twins (Little Missy Called Ada) we had nearly 2 years ago…

7am – Wake up Mummy Jessie, my wife, tea is brewing, rice is on for the babies, and eggs are frying. My wife is half Indonesian, so rice is definitely on the breakfast menu.

8am – Showers and prams at the ready. Ready for the morning walk!

9am – Walk around the Kensal Cemetery, which some find creepy, but it is still and beautiful. Or a more busy walk down the canal, and a coffee at the Canal Café, the lovely girls that work there give us old bread for the duckies.

10am – Start work. Have a walk around the building, making sure all bulbs are working and the toilets are fresh, and kitchen ready for breakfast and on their way for lunch set up.

Jesse 2

11am – Coffees for wife Jessie at work in her office upstairs (she runs a high-tech language school online) and for the nanny Jenny. A few coffees and breakfasts in the bar downstairs for regulars.

12am – The staff are all ready and well briefed for lunch, and the kitchen in particular have their cokes and espressos to keep them going.

1pm – The £10 Little Lunch menu is flowing well, and the smashed avocado on toast always goes down rather well with the mummies.

Jesse 3

2pm – Along with lunch service we are also dealing with various deliveries: barrels of beer, cleaning chemicals, and the pork delivery from old Mary on a Tuesday always comes right in the middle of Lunch.

3pm – The bones of the pork are being sawn, shoulders braised, trimmings minced as the whole beast miraculously gets turned into 150 portions of food.

Jesse 4

4pm Staff food is cooked and eaten together at the big table in the window. Cottage Pie today from Little Chef Tom, and Ice Cream from Piotr!

5pm We have a full staff briefing taken by Carys, and a tasting of a dish with an accompanying drink from Luna. People know about bookings of note, and the candles are lit.

6pm Bath and bed time for twins Ada and Monty. I go and help with the bath, and kiss them goodnight. Living upstairs has some benefits thankfully.

7pm Little trickle of drinkers come and have a beer and popcorn chicken nuggets. Smoking chefs have a breath of fresh air outside.

Jesse 5

8pm – Dinner service gets going and the food is looking good. I say some hellos to regulars Sam and Tracey. We are lucky to have so many lovely people that seem to keep coming back.

9pm – The Chef’s Table is nearing the climax of the meal with a spectacular pudding. This is the table I look after exclusively, telling them stories and wowing them with a dessert spectacle…

10pm Coffee orders coming in thick and fast and Piotr in pastry is busy with the Chef’s Table Pudding finale.

Jesse 6

11pm – We clean down the kitchen, orders are placed on the phone, and prep lists written for the morning crew.

12pm – The last customers are ushered out of the bar. The money is counted and the report of the day sent out to those who are not working tonight, so everyone knows what is going on. The breakfast bar is set up for the morning.

1am – Lock up the building, everyone home time. I pop upstairs and have a cold dinner left by my sleeping wife. I watch a little late night BBC iPlayer, and then drift off to sleep, dreaming of being kicked by my little Monty in the morning…

BOE Magazine

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