Photo of GCAS Funded Cook Eve Robinson. Eve is standing in Parveen's Kitchen with coriander in her hands. She is in a grey apron and is smiling at the camera.
Photo of GCAS Funded Cook Eve Robinson. Eve is standing in Parveen's Kitchen with coriander in her hands. She is in a grey apron and is smiling at the camera.

Parveen’s Canteen GCAS Funded Cook Eve Robinson

29 November 2023

In recent months, Agile City CIC and Parveen’s Canteen have hired three new colleagues from the Graduate Career Advantage Scotland scheme(GCAS). GCAS is a program that provides funding and support for recent graduates. “​​As part of the Scottish Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee, we aim to bridge the gap between employers and talented graduates: helping to ease the transition into valuable work experience. We break down barriers by supporting employers of all sectors and sizes, making it possible for them to create new impactful opportunities for graduates while boosting Scotland’s economy.” Agile City and Parveen’s Canteen are delighted to host recent graduates thanks to this funding. Joining us in Parveen’s Canteen is GCAS Funded Cook Eve Robinson.

Can you tell us who you are and what you do?

I’m Eve Robinson. I work in the kitchen in Parveen’s at Civic House. Each day I get to do something different. One day, I’ll be on food prep; cooking and prepping the food required for the next day’s service. The following day, I’ll be on lunch service, where I’m responsible for bringing together the day’s lunch and plating everything. Here I get to slightly play with plating which is fun and it is nice to be able to focus on the food. Then other days my role will be serving customers. I get to engage with customers, have a nice chat with them, and make them coffee.

It has been so lovely to be involved in Parveen’s and be able to constantly change my role. Having worked in front-of-house roles prior, I really enjoy still being able to be customer-facing whilst working in the kitchen and focusing on food. It is so nice getting to see both new and familiar faces come into the canteen, and get to know the regulars.

What are the best bits about your GCAS Funded Cook role at Parveen’s Canteen?

The job as a whole has just been really, really lovely. I think Parveen’s is such a great place to work, we’re all really close and friendly. It’s such a nice work environment where I feel so supported. All the staff want every person in that place to succeed, we’re all helping each other and giving each other advice. It is just very supportive and positive. As my first time in the kitchen, I was apprehensive, but Sahar and Fariya have made me feel completely at ease!

My cooking is heavily inspired by Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours and techniques. Since Parveen’s is a Pakistani-inspired canteen with large Middle Eastern inspiration too, our flavour ideas often parallel! It is really nice because working here incites a lot of inspiration for my own recipes and food ideas. As well as recipes for Parveen’s – any and all ideas are welcomed and encouraged by Sahar and Fariya. As someone who is not vegan, it has been so interesting to learn loads of new techniques, and how easy it is to find vegan substitutes etc.

The supportive environment here definitely gives you that element of extra confidence to give new recipes a go. For example, Parveen’s didn’t serve breakfast before I joined in the GCAS Funded Cook role. Since I love making granola, I showed Sahar and Fariya my granola recipe and they encouraged me to have a go making it here. After that we were able to start serving breakfast — we even have breakfast regulars now! It is a cardamon, orange and tahini granola, which I think really emulates and reflects the flavours that the twins love but also the flavours I love within my own cooking.

What attracted you to apply to the role of GCAS Funded Cook at Parveen’s Canteen?

I’ve always been really apprehensive about joining a kitchen. Having worked in hospitality there’s such a narrative and stigma around kitchen toxicity. I’ve seen when there are issues with work/life balance. I really didn’t want to do anything that would impact and diminish my love for cooking and food. I love developing recipes, coming up with new ideas, and trying them out. But I was anxious about putting myself in a position where I might ruin something that’s so special to me.

However, at Parveen’s everyone wants to help each other. I saw this role advertised through GCAS and it has provided me with such a fab opportunity to be in such a lovely supportive kitchen. I have a great work-life balance, getting evenings off – which is quite rare in chef roles!

Can you tell us about what sorts of plans are brewing in 2024?

There are loads of events coming up! Parveen’s hosts a supper club once a month, and we’ll typically be catering for Civic House Parties. We also have quite a few catering gigs coming up. I think it’s really nice things are just steadily getting busier and busier. Parveen’s will even be catering for some upcoming weddings which is really cool.

There’s such a level of vulnerability in taking yourself and your creative passion seriously. So I’ve really been trying to do that myself. I have quite a few freelance catering events coming up. For example, I’m catering for some dinner parties, even making a load of cakes for someone’s birthday etc. I recently catered an event for 40 people – that was all vegan. It was quite a learning curve! I made 40 potions of every single dish (oops) but it went really well, if a little stressful! I really love doing things like that.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I have a food Instagram! It is @eveseats_ on Instagram if you fancy looking at some things I’ve been cooking recently! Now that I’ve graduated I think it is really important to put myself out there. GCAS has really helped with this.

Parveen’s Canteen has offered me a role following on from the internship, too, which is really great. Cooking is such a creative outlet for me, and that’s what I like. My work as a GCAS Funded Cook at Parveen’s fits in with the chef work that I like doing. It has been really helpful because as I do some freelance on the side, Sahar and Fariya let me see how they manage their own catering. I can even ask for advice from them since they’re so supportive. They are always happy to help! l It is honestly just a really lovely place to work and I love Parveen’s. So I am glad I will be sticking around Parveen’s for a while!