Team Member of the Month - December 2017
1 Dec 2017
Meet our team member of the month for December!
1. What is your title and what does it entail?
I am the Head Pastry Chef for Stoke Park. I manage the pastry team and the day to day workings of the pastry kitchen. We provide all the desserts, cakes and baked goods for each of our restaurants: Humphry’s, The Orangery and San Marco. We also make fresh bread every morning, create the Afternoon Teas and produce pastries and sweet treats for conferences and banqueting.
2. What does a typical day at work over the festive period look like?
The festive period is a very busy time for us, as on top of our usual tasks we have Christmas events to plan plus our new Festive Afternoon Tea as well. I first gather my team of six and prepare a list of events for the next few days, delegating to make sure all areas are covered and completed promptly.
I then meet with my Pastry Sous Chef and we talk through the timings for the day ahead and anything that may be different from usual. After, I meet Cara, Humphry’s Pastry Chef de Partie, and we talk through the desserts for the evening and plan the day.
On top of these usual duties, we have lots of Christmas events to cater for. We create plenty of treats, from goodie bags for our Ladies Lunches, to jars of cookies for event professionals and cupcakes for golf events too.
3. What is your fondest memory of working at Stoke Park?
I’ve worked at Stoke Park for twelve years now and I’ve taken part in plenty of amazing events throughout the years. I love working The Boodles each year as it’s a massive event which keeps us busy, pulling together everyone to work as one big team.
Another event I loved was the Sir Elton John concert in 2014. It was in the middle of summer, just after The Boodles, and everyone was very excited for it. The whole kitchen team grouped together and worked hard to create the food for the event. I remember taking a step outside once we’d served the food and the atmosphere and music was simply amazing.
4. How do you create the delicious Stoke Park Christmas puddings?
Over the years, myself and Executive Chef Chris Wheeler have combined our recipes and perfected our delicious Christmas puddings. We start making the puddings in July, so the week before we make the mix we begin by marinating the fruits in brandy. Then, the day before we create it, we begin grating the carrots, apples and breadcrumbs. When we create the mixture we mix it all together as a team and everyone helps out with putting the mix into the foils. They are steamed in four batches and once done, each one is individually wrapped to wait for Christmas, which takes a long time as we create over a thousand individual puddings!
5. What has been your favourite Christmas dessert that you have created at Stoke Park?
I love traditional flavours, so my personal favourite has been our Christmas Pudding Soufflé. It has the taste of a Christmas pudding but with a light, fluffy texture, which really symbolises what Humphry’s is about; creating twists on a classic British dish.
6. What advice would you give to any budding chefs this Christmas and to those who aspire to enter this prestigious culinary world?
Constantly read recipe books and adapt them to fit your personal style. You’ll be able to learn from the best in cook books. Dine in lots of different places, whether it’s your local pub or a 3 AA Rosette restaurant like us, and keep expanding your palate.
Make sure you get your culinary qualifications, do the courses that appeal most to you and get as much as experience as possible. Never be afraid to start at the bottom; with lots of hard work and dedication you can work your way through the ranks.