Team Member of the Month
1 Nov 2017
Meet our November Team Member of the Month, Cara! Find out what her role as a Pastry Chef de Partie entails…
1. What is your title and what does it entail?
I’m the Pastry Chef de Partie and I run the dessert section for Humphry’s and The Orangery. I also help to set up the Afternoon Teas.
2. Tell us a little about your background, how did you come to love cooking?
I’ve loved food ever since I was little and I was always in the kitchen making cakes with my mum. I began to experiment with different flavours and cakes, teaching myself how to make more and more complex ones.
3. How has your previous culinary experiences shaped your cooking technique?
I went to college to study patisserie and confectionary and whilst on my course, I worked in a 2 AA Rosette restaurant as an Apprentice Pastry Chef, which I absolutely loved. After my course I joined Stoke Park as the Demi Chef de Partie before becoming the Pastry Chef de Partie. I couldn’t be prouder to work in a 3 Rosette restaurant!
4. What does a typical day at work look like?
When I arrive I check the day’s schedule and the number of covers we have booked in. I then set up the Afternoon Tea, adding the cakes and jams, and send it up to The Orangery. During the day I create desserts for The Orangery, ensuring each dish is made to the highest standard for our guests.
After this I work on the mise en place (preparation) for Humphry’s, making sure I have everything ready for the evening ahead. Each day I design and create a Daily Dessert, which is served as a pre-dessert in Humphry’s.
Once I have prepared for dinner service, I begin making the soufflés, as this is one of our most intricate dishes on our dessert menu. Our current soufflé is mocha flavoured, served with a chocolate anglaise and a mascarpone and orange sorbet. As the Humphry’s orders come in, I create each dessert with care and precision. At the end of the day, I clean everything down, organise everything and make sure everything is set for the following day.
5. How do you create a unique dish?
Usually when I think of a new dish, ideas drip through to me no matter where I am! It forms in my mind throughout the day as I take inspiration from the different ingredients I use and the food I see. I will constantly be thinking of different recipes and combinations, taking inspiration from everywhere!
6. What are the three ingredients you can’t do without?
Cream, chocolate and sugar.
7. What is your favourite dish on our autumnal Humphry’s menu and why?
The Soufflé has been my favourite dish as I love making them! It takes a lot of care and work to create the perfect soufflé and I’m always proud to see their rise and receive the positive feedback from the guests on their flavour.
8. What is your fondest memory of working at Stoke Park?
I’ve worked here since last January and I’ve loved every moment of it! A highlight of mine would definitely be The Boodles, as we created beautiful dishes for over 800 people every day for a week! The atmosphere was simply amazing; everyone was so excited to work the event and we all came together as a team to help out on each of the dishes. I can’t wait for next year’s!
9. If you could have a choice of cooking alongside anyone in the world, who would it be?
A favourite chef of mine is Gordon Ramsay. It’s great to have an honest chef who will help you improve even in the smallest of details, so to cook alongside him would be amazing. The amount of experience he has is incredible!
10. What advice would you give to any budding chefs and to those who aspire to enter this prestigious culinary world?
Don’t ever give up! You could be starting out as a commis, helping out in all areas of the kitchen, but you have to show you are willing to do it. Dedication and flair is always the key to working your way up the ranks in the kitchen. Always help out where possible; the worst thing you can do in a kitchen is to just stand around. Whether it’s helping with the cleaning, helping to plate, or prepping food; if you have a spare moment, help those around you! It’s the key to success.
Has Cara’s experience here at Stoke Park inspired you to join the team? Take a peek at our available chef positions here: https://www.stokepark.com/information/careers-jobs.html