Where Have All the Young Pastry Chefs Gone?

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Apparently in the UK, and further afield, we are suffering from a lack of young pastry chefs. The next generation of chefs have decided to go into other jobs and there is a crisis looming. In the face of this near-crisis, two different approached have been taken by two different people – one is a competition and one is a book. But will it work?

Coup de pates have decided to tackle the issue head on and run a competition in the hope that engaging people 16 – 25 in baking and inspiring them to get involved in the competition won’t just lead to a single winner who will see their creation created, but to inspire everyone who gets involved to go further into chefing. There is a whole website dedicated to the competition called Chefs at Play which has a rather fun video – complete with smashed crockery because even experts get it wrong occasionally. But enter before the deadline of November 16!

Inspiring the next generation of pastry chefs is more than just theatre and more than just baking something – inspiration comes from engaging every sense 🙂 The winner will be flown out to Paris for an all-expenses paid development session with the Coup de pates chefs. They will be treated to an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into how products go from paper to plate and have a hand in creating a brand new product. But it’s all about the process of getting there. This competition is about inspiration which means making it a bit easier and that’s where Coup de pates has an edge.

The young chefs can choose from one of eight semi-prepared products as a base, more commonly known as a cheat, and from that base build up their patisserie recipe idea. If their recipe is strong enough, they will be send the product to test their recipe with. It’s all about inspiring young people to get in to patisserie and into becoming pastry chefs. Frankly I’d be all about the mini macaron cases because how the heck hard can filling them be? You could get amazingly creative and make something incredible. Then I spotted the bread sheets – yes you read that correctly: bread SHEETS. Or perhaps a young chef light like to try their hand at creating something with chocolate or vanilla sponge sheet. I volunteer to be a taste-tester 😉

On the other end of the inspiration scale, Sarah Barber who one of the most famous hotel pastry chefs in London has written a book aimed at demystifying patisserie and show people – especially young pastry chefs – how wonderfully satisfying and delightful pastry chefing can be.

Sarah Barber Patisserie Perfection is a book for the modern aspiring pastry chef, or even the ancient aspiring pastry chef, but as someone who started at 18 she’s looking to inspire others like herself to make the leap into the realms of pastry chefdom. Sarah has healthily honed her supreme skills at the very finest establishments including Head Pastry Chef roles at Hakkasan Group’s Yauatcha, Dinner By Heston Blummental, ME London and most recently, at the gloriously glamorous Corinthia Hotel London. Her previous work, at 5 star hotels Mandarin Oriental, The Ritz and The Connaught, further helped sharpen Sarah’s supremely superlative powerfully precise pastry prowess. But not her alterative skills – those were misplaced during a brutal baking session.

Alliteration aside, Sarah wants to inspire young people to enter into the realms of pastry. She found her passion working with chocolate as so many others have but if you don’t even try, you won’t ever discover this amazing discipline. Sarah wants young people to discover for themselves what inspired her so much and to share what she feels is the best in the kitchen.

Two different approaches towards solving the problem of a lack of pastry chefs just serves to underscore how bad the problem has become. Whether inspiration comes from a book or a competition, inspiring 16 – 25 year olds into pastry may seem trivial but is more important than ever.

About Judith Lewis

Editor and chief blogger at Mostly About Chocolate. Expert SEO. judge at various chocolate awards, wine awards, and all the Search Awards. Judith is passionate about food, wine, and travel.

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