Peter Gayford attended the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School (ENTCS) for the Three-Month Beginners Certificate Course between September and December 2020. Since leaving, Pete has set up a successful catering business FieldFireFork where he uses amazing Scottish produce and a very special barbecue. We caught up with him to find out how things were going and to ask him about his influences and how he came to take a course at ENTCS. To contact Pete for information about what he provides, visit www.fieldfirefork.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find him on Instagram @fieldfirefork and Facebook Field Fire Fork
Where did your passion for food and cooking start and what were you doing before the course?
I was born in Mauritius and spent much of my formative years in Saudi Arabia and India, together with extensive travel through Africa, Asia and Australia. Growing up in a myriad of environments, I was surrounded by different cuisines and developed a deep passion for food, flavours and ultimately cooking.
Following university, I trained as a rural chartered surveyor, working with a number of Scotland’s prime farms and estates. I was the Head of Commercial and Rural Services at Hopetoun Estates for a number of years, subsequently working in East Lothian in estate management and as a farm environmental advisor.
Having spent almost twenty years in these roles, I found myself longing to follow my dream of cooking and using my passion for food as a career.
What encouraged you to follow this passion and undertake professional training?
Working with rural businesses in Scotland has given me first-hand knowledge of the quality produce that is available on our doorstep. I love open fire cooking, offset Texan BBQ, traditional direct and indirect BBQ cooking and I have used these methods in a wide variety of locations, from the back garden to the beach and even the outback of Australia. For the past 10 years, I have been tempted to combine my knowledge of rural Scotland and my passion for barbecue, eventually convincing myself that I wasn’t getting any younger and it really was time for a change.
I firmly believed that in order to build a successful career I would need a solid understanding of the classic cookery techniques. These techniques are applicable to all styles of cuisine and cooking with fire is no exception! ENTCS was the obvious choice. The school has a fantastic reputation and as an Edinburgh resident, the opportunity to undertake professional training at one of the UK’s top cook schools within walking distance from home was too good to miss.
What were the top things you learned whilst at ENTCS that have been most useful or gave you food for thought?
The course was a brilliant foundation for me and gave me the confidence to pursue my own venture and establish my own catering company, FieldFireFork. I not only cultivated a strong classic skill base, but the course provided me with clear direction. I learnt invaluable skills like menu planning and all the organisational abilities required to work in the industry. Above all, I made great contacts and friends and I am so grateful for all I took away from my time there.
Tell us a bit about your business?
Since graduating from ENTCS , I have started my own catering company – FieldFireFork. Whether catering for a family gathering, private party or corporate office event, to larger festivals and outdoor markets, FieldFireFork bring the special elements required for all great cooking experiences – fire, spectacle and passion.
FieldFireFork was forged from an appreciation of cooking in its rawest form, using simply wood and charcoal. We believe that in the United Kingdom, we are blessed with some of the worlds very best produce. The provenance of and quality of this produce and the support of the primary producers is the cornerstone of FieldFireFork.
We work hard to develop relationships with farmers, gamekeepers, fishermen and artisan producers to bring the very best of our local produce to your forks. Sourcing the best of Scotland’s produce, it is our aim to cater in both a visually and gastronomically exciting way. Scotland has an abundance of incredible producers that share this unique and raw environment, allowing us to source and cook the best that Scotland has to offer with flavours from around the world.
FieldFireFork aim to bring our clients on a culinary journey, from the ‘Field’ of some of Scotland’s finest primary producers, through to our traditional and elemental cooking method of ‘Fire’ ultimately producing exciting and innovative flavours on your ‘Fork’ for a truly exceptional and unforgettable experience.
What would you say to someone considering doing the same course as you?
Try not to have too many pre-conceived ideas before starting and don’t worry if you do not have a clear career path mapped out. Go in with an open mind and a willingness to learn – you will be fully immersed in a professional catering environment with exceptional teachers. You will gain an understanding of your strengths (and as importantly, your weaknesses) and opportunities for the future will present themselves!
Do you have any advice for newly qualified students?
Be bold! Have confidence in the skills you have learned and don’t be afraid to try things.
Peter Gayford – FieldFireFork
Facebook: Field Fire Fork