Market Cafe: Mismatched Furniture and Italian Comfort Food in East London.

Laid-back old-pub setting with stripped floors and mismatched furniture for Italian comfort food.

The Market Cafe is just 5 shops down the road from Maloka (link), a lovely vegan cafe where I was also working in the kitchen. Looking to expand my skill set beyond raw/vegan/vegetarian cuisine, I applied at the Market Cafe, a big, comfy, commercial restaurant right by the canal.

As a health psychologist and cooking teacher I was familiar with the nutritional side of things, but wanted to learn everything there was to learn about cooking. I wanted to be able to prepare 20 dishes at once and feed 100 persons in less than an hour.

The chefs and kitchen team were nice to me and understood that while I was determined and dedicated, I had neither received any formal training nor attended cookery school. I was taught how to blanch vegetables, roll out pasta, melt the sugar crust on a crème brûlée, braise salmon and cut vegetables Julienne, Chiffonnade, Jardinière, Brunoise, Macédoine and Paysanne. I also learned that cheffing means working 45h in one weekend. Every weekend. I have the utter most respect for anyone working in the hospitality business. It is hard work, long hours, decent pay and little time to socialise outside of the kitchen.

Although I did not last very long at the Market Cafe, I took a lot of learning lessons with me and still find myself daydreaming about huge pots, sizzling pans and shouting chefs from time to time.