Chef & Owner of The Café at Welland Park
- How long have you been running the Café? It will be two years in August!
- Tell us about it….Our aim is to keep the food simple and make sure 99% of it is homemade. Everything is locally sourced or produced. Fresh good food basically! We have a herb garden so use lots of fresh herbs especially in our Summer Menu.
- What were you doing before? I owned a catering business and I tutored at Bridge67 the cookery school in Smeeton, but then we saw this opportunity in the park and thought why not? It’s a lovely park and it seemed like a chance to give people access to something a little bit different.
- And before that? I was working at Joules overseeing their catering events and there I met Frances Quinn who was an amateur baker at the time. I mentored her in the run up to the 2013 Great British Bake Off and she won! I started my career in London at The Royal Lancaster Hotel (after catering college), then I moved to Sally Clarke at Clarke’s and then was poached to Nico Ladenis’s 2 Michelin Star restaurant. We started a family and decided to move back to Harborough.
- What do you enjoy making most? I love making desserts. Classic Lemon Tart is my signature dish. Goldie Hawn would always order it when she came into Nico Ladenis.
- What’s the hardest thing to make as a Pastry Chef? Puff Pastry! It’s so time consuming. As any chef knows getting the basics right is so important because consistency is key in this business. It’s no good making it right once, it has to be perfect each and every time! At the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London where I worked all you did for a whole year was make pastry! Only then could you move onto something else.
- How do you become a Pastry Chef? I advise anyone to go to Catering College full time, 2–3 years and then go out and get experience. Avoid learning on the job as you just won’t get the depth of knowledge or experience.
- What next? I’d like to do more events around the Café and the Bandstand. The Harborough Band come twice a year. There are a few things in the pipeline! During Autumn & Winter the Café is available for hire in the evenings. We recently did a Moroccan evening for someone which was fun.