Group Pastry Chef
How long have you been working with the Soho House Group?
I started off as Head Pastry Chef at Dean Street Townhouse followed by a promotion to Group Pastry Chef, covering all London sites.
How many chefs in your brigade?
I look after each pastry section in all the UK kitchens which amounts to approximately 25 pastry chefs.
Where else have you worked?
I graduated from Westminster Kingsway College in 2000 and my first job was working at Nobu as a Pastry Chef in 2000 where I spent a year and a half. I was also fortunate enough to be a part of opening team for Ubon in Canary Wharf.
In 2002 I moved to Ivy as Demi CDP where I stayed for four and a half years working up to Snr CDP. I loved working at the Ivy, I learnt so much about quality British pastry…
Following this I decided it was time for a break! I went on an extended holiday for five months around Australia, NZ, Fiji, Canada and, just to top it off, I took a train across Canada and the Rocky mountains – so amazing!
On my return I was offered Head Pastry Chef at Le Caprice and ended up staying there for 4-5 years. It was a small intimate little family and I was fortunate enough to be there for their 25th anniversary. Whilst at Caprice I ended up helping out on Urban Caprice events.
In 2010, along came my next break to work at the Soho House Group opening their new British restaurant, Dean Street Townhouse. I ended up spending a year as Pastry Chef, working under Matt Hayes and a year and a half later I was offered the Group Pastry role.
I love working for the Soho House Group, you end up getting involved in so many different aspects of the business – from the Cannes Film Festival, House Festival, new openings and other exciting pop up events. The Cookhouse events also add another dimension – from Bakery trips, chocolate making excursions and anything else with pastry flair!
What is your preferred cuisine to cook?
I end up cooking British at home most of the time, although sometimes I am persuaded to roll out Japanese!
What is your favourite season and why?
Autumn – it’s the start of the harvest, when everything has had time to grow through spring and summer – basically it’s time to reap! All fruits become available to make beautiful jams and the Game season has officially started. Basically, it’s when the whole country begins to prepare for the winter months!
What is your signature dish?
I’m a huge fan of making winter warmers – particularly cobblers and bread & butter puddings. I always like to delve into the history of a dish – like spotted dick and jam roly polys. It makes it so much more enjoyable finding out the origins of desserts, particularly if there’s some sort of quirky story involved. We have the rum nicky at Soho House – based on the history of food coming into the country from Africa and West Indies. Watch out for the story filled pastry menus in the Houses!
What do you cook at home?
British – my family is from Manchester so it is always the preferred cuisine! My grandparents love me making classic cakes!
What is your favourite cookbook?
I have to think about this – I have so many! As far as recipe books go, I have two – both passed down. One is from my granddad during the bakery years – basically a scrap book from wartime. Another one is from a lecturer at college called Mr Mason – a whole repertoire of personalized recipes. Personal recipes are undoubtedly the best and I love improving on the classics.
What is your favourite restaurant in London?
Definitely afternoon tea at the Lanesborough. Nobu would also have to make the list – I had the meal of my life there, 20 courses! Yuatcha is also a great example of fusion done well…
What do you look for in your chefs?
First and foremost, chefs must have enthusiasm. There needs to be reasons for them getting into the kitchen – I love being asked loads of questions and identifying passion in individuals.
What do you like doing outside of work?
I now have three dogs so it would have to be dog walking!
What is the funniest thing you have witnessed as a chef?
Gallons and gallons of ice cream falling on unsuspecting chefs…