My chocolate and Pastry Experiences

Scottish part time chocolatier in London enjoying all things Chocolate and Pastry


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Hix Dessert Launch and Reflections

We all met in the Godiva Concession where we were delighted with Champagne Truffles and Creme Brulee TrufflesIMAG1378.

Following some chocolate we all went up to Hix and toasted the night with the fantastic Choctini,I81A9313 I really should’ve found out how to make it as it was simply divine and I could see myself making this at home.

I was joined by a few of my friends I81A9326to help celebrate the launch of my dessert onto the menu of Hix after winning the Godiva Chocolate Challenge 2014.

The Hix staff brought out lots of plates of the new dessert and I felt a little under the microscope, everyone was watching to see my reaction.  I was really pleased that Chef Martin hadn’t changed anything, and I was please with itIMAG1383 how it looked and tasted.  It was good to try the dessert after being made by the professionals. In fact I’m back again tonight to try the dessert with some other friends who weren’t there last night.

It was a shame that Mark Hix wasn’t there as I was looking forward to chatting with him again, but I did meet Ronnie Murray who is the Hix Group Head Chef and had I good chat with him who’s background is pastry.

This whole experience has been amazing. From seeing the competition details in the Stylist Magazine email Emerald Street, to researching seasonal ingredients that I could use,I81A8896 and could be used in Hix if I won (got to think positive), all the practicing that my friends got to try and comment on, the phone call from Victoria at Godiva to say that I was in the final – I was so giggly that I’m sure she thought I was a looper, the panic for that week; mentally going through every stage and writing down all the tools and ingredients so that I had everything that I needed, competing in the final and meeting the other contestants, meeting William Sitwell, Mark Hix, Juliet Northumb and Thierry Muret – I have so much more respect for the contestants on Masterchef now…my amazing trip to Brussels traveling on Euro-Star, the day in the kitchen of Hix, the launch and seeing my dessert on the menu IMAG1389…I still have a visit to the Innovation center in Brussels with Thierry to look forward to.

My chocolate adventures will continue…Click for the launch pics
Pictures courtesy of John Gough

 

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A Day at Hix

index I’m sitting on the usual train that I catch to go into the City every week day morning, but this is different, today I’m off to a professional kitchen for a day. HIX! I have been looking forward to this day since I won the Godiva Chocolate Challenge in March. Having designed a dessert that I thought matched the Hix ethos and celebrated all that is chocolate, I was on the penultimate part of my winning journey. (video of the day).

I81A8914I arrive at Hix Selfridges for the shop opening, there’s something lovely about walking around Selfridges when there are no customers in the store yet. I am greeted by Head Chef Martin Sweeney and given my whites to change into. It turns out Martin is also Scottish which makes me feels a little more at ease.

It suddenly dawns on me…I haven’t made this dessert since the start of March. I should know it inside out, the week of the Godiva competition I went to sleep going through all the stages of the dessert in my head making each stage virtually, but that was nearly 2 months ago. I start to panic “I can’t do this, I’m not prepared, I’m not a chef!” I think. Martin has a brilliant sense of timing and comes over with a coffee for me. “so, talk me through this then” he says. As I talk I remember. Chef smiles at me “well get to it then” he says and leaves me in the Pastry section with Pastry Chef Melissa.

There’s something about being in a Pastry section of a professional kitchen that makes you feel more organised. At least I like to think that’s what it was, it’s more likely to be because the chefs had already weighed out all my ingredients into nice neatly labelled containers. I start to make the Chocolate and Honey Cremeux and I feel like a chef, for today anyway I belong. With the dessert well under way I start to relax….

I81A9020My next panic is doing the quinelles. I learned to do this by watching youtube videos in slow motion. I kept a tub of whipped cream in my fridge to practice – every time I made a cup of coffee I’d pour hot water into a cup and heat my spoon and make a few quinelles then put them back in the cream, smooth it over till the next time.

 

I81A8943During every stage Chef Martin and Chef Melissa came over to see what I was doing, how I was doing it and offer tips on how I could do it better.

 

I81A9000Finally I was ready to start to plate up; my pears were nicely poached and caramelised in honey, my almonds toasted in honey and finished off with a touch of crushed fleur de sel, chocolate and honey cremeux had set up nicely, chocolate crumb had cooled and looked like chocolate crumble topping and the sorbet was perfect.

I81A9034After managing to plate up with no errors, it was all down to Chef trying and providing feedback. Chef Martin was very kind to me and had only positive comments…..then all the Hix Chefs came to try and loved it.

Once the dessert was finished I had lunch with the Godiva PR company and John the photographer. Fresh salmon that is cured and smoked on the premises with homemade soda bread, I learned that it’s taken Mark Hix 4 years to perfect the curing and smoking process to what’s used today and it’s been 4 years well spent as the salmon was amazing. There is something special about new season asparagus which I had with hollandaise sauce. I learned so much during that day, and it is certainly one I will not forget.

I81A9042Here’s a link to see all the pictures of my day, courtesy of John Gough