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UK Pastry Chefs


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Our local restaurant (Trinity in Clapham London SW) has a pastry chef with a very pleasing style, though I sense she is working with limited ingredients (or a limited budget). The desserts at the old Putney Bridge restaruant were very impressive; I do not know if the pastry chef has moved to Arbutus. In neither case do I know the name of the pastry chefs concerned.

Petrus

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ok then..my 2 pence worth..

In the Sarf of England..Tony Hoyle at The Grove and Thierry Besselievre ( worked at a few of GR's places) are pretty good...

Unsung hero's abroad ( certainly far better than the hugely over-rated Miss Clarke of the French Laundry, Wolsely and er.. Hilton Edgeware Road )

are Julian Hutchings ,ex Oriental Hotel Bangkok, now in Shanghai and Martin Chiffers, ex Raffles Singapore now in Seoul.

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I think Tony Hoyle used to be at the Dorchester. Is Thierry Besselievre still within the GR empire or has he moved on? I have eated Martin Chiffers' desserts when he was at that hotel near Liverpool Street station; they were very impressive.

Petrus

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lets put a spanner in the works! firstly pastry chefs in this country can get paid a considerable amount of money (£30k-70k if not more if you are at the very top) certainly at michelin level and have the power to negotiate good deals regarding hours and so on as most (not all) the skill is in the mise en place and construction of desserts so if they train their staff well there is not a necessity to oversee service.

But what i really want to say is that it is very rare that i have come across a pastry chef that cooks what you want them to cook. Head chefs know more about a complete meal than someone who specialises in one aspect of cooking. I have always loved the simple yet perfect constructions of many of the three star chefs in paris and of marco's in the old days. you don't want too much to think about at the end of the meal it just gets tiring, what you do want to be is stunned with the look of the dessert and the flavour. I am always more stunned by something simple and perfect than a load of redundent sugar work, foams and uneccessary mousses even if there are all in perfect quenelles.

there are of course exceptions to this rule and i am talking from my experience, don't all you pastry chefs out there get your knickers in a twist!

one of the best pastry chefs i ever worked with listed his favourite desserts as tarte fine aux pommes and strawberry sable and although frustrating in many other ways it was nice to be on the same wavelength. he is sadly no longer with us and will be sadly missed.

Big bud, you are very lucky to have someone you can relate to, this for me is one of the most important parts of the pastry - head chef relationship.

anyway i know it is a bit rambling and i will probably add more later

matt

Matt Christmas.

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lets put a spanner in the works! firstly pastry chefs in this country can get paid a considerable amount of money (£30k-70k if not more if you are at the very top) certainly at michelin level and have the power to negotiate good deals regarding hours and so on as most (not all) the skill is in the mise en place and construction of desserts so if they train their staff well there is not a necessity to oversee service.

But what i really want to say is that it is very rare that i have come across a pastry chef that cooks what you want them to cook. Head chefs know more about a complete meal than someone who specialises in one aspect of cooking.

<snip>

Thanks for your comment chef matt. Let's put a second spanner in the works.

You are suggesting that (some) pastry chefs are too indepent and their desserts do not harmonise with the rest of the establishment's meal. Should not their head chef have a 'quiet word' with these offenders?

Petrus

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lets put a spanner in the works!  firstly pastry chefs in this country can get paid a considerable amount of money (£30k-70k if not more if you are at the very top) certainly at michelin level and have the power to negotiate good deals regarding hours and so on as most (not all) the skill is in the mise en place and construction of desserts so if they train their staff well there is not a necessity to oversee service. 

But what i really want to say is that it is very rare that i  have come across a pastry chef that cooks what you want them to cook.  Head chefs know more about a complete meal than someone who specialises in one aspect of cooking.

<snip>

Thanks for your comment chef matt.  Let's put a second spanner in the works.

You are suggesting that (some) pastry  chefs are too indepent and their desserts do not harmonise with the rest of the establishment's meal. Should not their head chef have a 'quiet word' with these offenders?

Petrus

I think what matt is trying to say very politely is that a lot, if not the majority of pastry chefs are very difficult to work with, which brings me back to my origanal post about how important it is to build relationships and understanding between main kitchen and pastry, please correct me if i m wrong matt

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spot on simon, i also agree with what you said about trying to integrate the kitchen and get the kitchen chefs to get a bit of pastry under their belt.

in my experience pastry chefs often don't have and don't want kitchen experience, this means that they jealously guard the secrets to their craft. a lot of the time this makes them think that they are beyond critcism because the other chefs can't produce something better. the head chef wants to get the most out of his chefs and if that means honing the technical ability of the pastry chef with suggestion and constructive criticism only an idiot would resist it.

Matt Christmas.

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..the previous posters reiterate my point...In the UK the head chef knows everything better...

I left England as a young man...went to CH and studied as a baker/confectioner..realised I knew bugger all so trained on as a chocolatier/confiseur, realised I still had so much to learn.then worked my way up as a hotel/restaurant pastry chef...attended courses and seminars led by the masters ( Bau, Wybauw, Herme, Ziegler, Eggenschwiler etc)

Lots of time and energy which were eventually honoured by a couple of great jobs with an excellent salary. I respected the Exec Chefs and visa-versa, even though he knew I was on the same salary as he was..I did not tell him how to make his sauces..he did not tell me how I should enrobe chocolates...mutual respect and team work all round.

In the UK things are a little different...(not for me I do not work in the pastry anymore) and as for the 70k plus salarys, dont be shy please let us all know where they are as I have a friend who was a michelin 3* pastry chef and is now looking for a job but never earnt anywhere near that salary.

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..the previous posters reiterate my point...In the UK the head chef knows everything better...

I left England as a young man...went to CH and studied as a baker/confectioner..realised I knew bugger all so trained on as a chocolatier/confiseur, realised I still had so much to learn.then worked my way up as a hotel/restaurant pastry chef...attended courses and seminars led by the masters ( Bau, Wybauw, Herme, Ziegler, Eggenschwiler etc)

Lots of time and energy which were eventually honoured by a couple of great jobs with an excellent salary. I respected the Exec Chefs and visa-versa, even though he knew I was on the same salary as he was..I did not tell him how to make his sauces..he did not tell me how I should enrobe chocolates...mutual respect and team work all round.

In the UK things are a little different...(not for me I do not work in the pastry anymore) and as for the 70k plus salarys, dont be shy please let us all know where they are as I have a friend who was a michelin 3* pastry chef and is now looking for a job but never earnt anywhere near that salary.

You re iterate my point about the attitude of the majority of pastry chefs!!!

Believe me i do not claim to be a pastry chef, but i do claim to have an understanding of pastry and be able to discuss with the pastry chef about pastry with mutual respect! you obviously cannot be a good head chef without an understanding, also at the moment my pastry chef can discuss with me about things in the hot kitchen with mutual respect also, did you miss my bit about building relationships ?

Your attiude is very much them and us which is not unusal from a pastry chef! when surely the whole kitchen should be working as one team towards the same goals!

Believe me there are jobs out there that pay that much for pastry chefs, diverse multi outlet operations, as at the start of this topic there are not that many good ones so you want to keep them!

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To quote a former teacher:

"Here are a couple of simple desserts to throw together when your pastry chefs throws a tantrum and walks out." (Proceeds to demonstrate bavarois, vanilla souffle, creme caramel etc) :biggrin:

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To quote a former teacher:

"Here are a couple of simple desserts to throw together when your pastry chefs throws a tantrum and walks out." (Proceeds to demonstrate bavarois, vanilla souffle, creme caramel etc)  :biggrin:

Exactly the sort of knowledge any good head chef should have!!

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i would never dream of telling a pastry chef how to enrobe a chocolate, unfortunately it is not art it is about eating. in the same way that i have no idea how to make a side board i can certainly have legitimate opinions on how it should look and work. in the same way i have legitimate, if not more accurate opinions of how a dessert can taste as i know thye whole menu inside out from which the customers are going to eat.

I know pastry chefs that drink nothing but diet coke and have little packages of dodgy wafer thin turkey hiding in their fridge, do you call that proper eating?

pastry chefs and head chefs leaving eachother alone leads to a mis match in the cooking and is very old fashioned. Tetsuya's was my most memorable example where i had about twelve courses of light pacific rim savoury cooking and two courses of heavy old fashioned french style desserts. The dersserts were technically fine and elsewhere would have been welcomed but here it ruined the meal and left me with a very heavy feeling in my stomach.

chef simon is exactly right, the previous post shows the opinions of pastry chefs not head chefs. trust me i would love a pastry chef that i could just leave alone it would be great.

the sooner pastry chefs realise they are just chefs, approach food with flavour in mind and start being open to constructive critisism the sooner desserts in the uk will get better. (as always there are exceptions)

Matt Christmas.

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as simon says there are not many good pastry chefs out there so you want to keep them. the big salaries are generally with the ramsay/marco type operations. some one who is getting paid a lot less at 3* level is either in a very small place, or is not head pastry chef or isn't very good!

Matt Christmas.

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as simon says there are not many good pastry chefs out there so you want to keep them.  the big salaries are generally with the ramsay/marco type operations.  some one who is getting paid a lot less at 3* level is either in a very small place, or is not head pastry chef or isn't very good!

i know a large, profile london restaurant desperate for a high quality pastry chef, as they have / are being sodomised by agency fees.

they're paying as I understand it, but can't find the quality.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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  • 3 months later...

interestingly have just notice the Chef patissier at helene darroze in London is a Scottish chap by the name of kirk whittle.

Not a local / hotel hire. It looks like he's also done two years as chef patissier at the mothership in Paris.

That's quite impressive. Anyone else seen a Brit who's held down a ** pastry gig in Paris before?

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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interestingly have just notice the Chef patissier at helene darroze in London is a Scottish chap by the name of kirk whittle.

Not a local / hotel hire. It looks like he's also done two years as chef patissier at the mothership in Paris.

That's quite impressive. Anyone else seen a Brit who's held down a ** pastry gig in Paris before?

J

There must be something about Scotland and pastry chefs, i work with a Scottish guy at the moment and he is up there with the best, i ve worked with which includes claire clark and a couple of top french guys, one of them ex gagniere

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interestingly have just notice the Chef patissier at helene darroze in London is a Scottish chap by the name of kirk whittle.

Not a local / hotel hire. It looks like he's also done two years as chef patissier at the mothership in Paris.

That's quite impressive. Anyone else seen a Brit who's held down a ** pastry gig in Paris before?

J

Kirk has worked for Helene Darroze for nearly 5 years...Cant say about Paris but Hans Stucki ** in Basel had an English patissier for a while..

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I think Tony Hoyle used to be at the Dorchester.  Is Thierry Besselievre still within the GR empire or has he moved on?  I have eated Martin Chiffers' desserts when he was at that hotel near Liverpool Street station; they  were very impressive.

Petrus

Correct...Tony used to be at the Dorch. Thierry has left GR's empire...fell out with MW...Martin was at the Great Eastern but is another that has left the UK,he is in Seoul at the moment and has a very good name in Asia....

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