As some of you may or may not know, Bharat Chandegra has left the building! After 3 and a half years as my pastry Sous chef at Resorts World Birmingham. After the show ended it was inevitable that the offers would come rolling in for us both, Bharat needed to to take the next step in his career and now is as good a time as any. It also allows the other team members to progress further in their careers. I’m am proud that I’ve been able to teach another pastry chef in Birmingham and the fact that people are hunting his skills is fantastic. It’s now time for the next pastry chefs training.
It’s funny, I have had a lot of interest in the position of pastry Sous chef, but out of all that have applied not one was at the skill level that need for this. Although they thought they were but couldn’t do the basics. It’s ok saying that you have worked in all these great places in the country and London, but if the places aren’t teaching you the fundamentals of pastry and all you all day do is platted desserts, well, then there is something lacking in the industry.
It’s something that as a pastry chef you need to be able to teach and learn everything on a daily basis, push yourself to learn the difficult things first and the rest becomes easy. Follow your favorite pastry chefs for inspiration and don’t rely on home cook recipe books to make you a better pastry chef. That comes from making your own recipes, trial and error is the only way forward. We all need to make mistakes before we can get a full understanding of what works. Below is myself and Erik Van Der Veken (Cocoa Barry ambassador) teaching us the knowledge we needed for our showpieces before we went onto the bake off show.
It is such a valuable thing as a chef that we keep up with the times, keep learning, always ask for help when needed (myself, with a vast network of pastry friends will ask for help when I need it). You can’t do everything yourself without help, yes you can get by but you need the skills of others to help you progress.
I love social media to to a point, I’m not into blurting out my life problems over Facebook or who I hate on Twitter, for other things though it can be very helpful and a form of free advertisement. It has also shaped us as pastry chef, chefs etc, simply because this is where we look to see how we can better ourselves and our techniques. Looking and understanding the way thing are made from a simple picture is an art form in itself and it takes a lot of imagination and creative thought for it to be successful, again mistakes must be made first to succeed. Below is Myself, Florian and Jonathan.
Learning sugar was a massive turning point again for me. It’s such a difficult thing to master because there are so many things you have to think about when performing sugar showpieces. I was very lucky, and have been able to learn from the best in the business – Florian Poirot. He’s a very clever teacher and doesn’t mince his words when teaching you, if it’s crap then he’ll tell you! This part of him I love as you know when you are doing it wrong. This is how to teach, not to pander to peoples feelings but to get under the skin to force them to do better. It works and it helped me no end when it came to competition time on The Bake Off, for this I thank you Florian. Keep learning chefs, ask for advice and keep in touch and keep sharing, because you can’t take it with you when you die.
My next blog with be about Bake off The Professionals