With a relay and a seasonal showstopper challenge to conquer, ten Soho House pastry chefs were understandably nervous about the October event…
As the all-new Great British Bake Off airs on Channel 4, Soho House & Co invited ten of our UK pastry chefs to a one-day competition at Soho Farmhouse.
The day began with a tour of the garden, looking at fruits, herbs and even vegetables that could be used in seasonal desserts. Next, the team headed into the “tent” (aka Cookhouse) for a relay race. Split into two teams of five, they had to line pastry cases, make serviceable piping bags from baking parchment, pipe “Happy Birthday” on to plates using melted chocolate, segment oranges and finally separate and whisk egg whites until stiff enough to be held over their heads.
The winners got first pick of the seasonal ingredients that had been set out for them to make their own innovative desserts. With a two-hour time limit, they came up with ideas like a quince and honey cake, a blackberry roulade with cobnut crumble, and a parsnip ice cream with chocolate crumb.
Their efforts were judged by UK head pastry chef Kady Yon, P&D communications manager Clemency Keeler and Gabriele Leo, head pastry chef for The Ned. “We judged on taste, presentation and creativity,” says Clemency.
The judges were impressed by all the dishes, but the winner was David Kennett, head pastry chef of 76 Dean Street and Café Monico, for his very technical, seasonal and innovative dessert of rose geranium panna cotta with beetroot cake, beetroot jelly and (pecans). He was rewarded with a bottle of champagne, two Soho Home champagne flutes, and a 5L Metcalfe planetary mixer that would make TV judge Paul Hollywood proud.
The runner-up was Sophie Lorenzetti from The Ned, who won a bottle of champagne for creating a delicious plum compote using compressed autumn plums with garden thyme, muscovado crumble and borage flowers from the Soho Farmhouse garden.
“Competition is important and it was a great opportunity to gather some of our best chefs together to showcase their talent and innovation,” Kady says. “Despite it being a competition, the team camaraderie was at a all time high and everyone left inspired and motivated.”