The toughest Bake Off is back! Judges Benoit Blin and Cherish Finden join presenters Tom Allen and Liam Charles on the hunt to crown the best patisserie team.
Joining them this year are 12 teams of pastry chefs from around the country – but who can handle the heat and who will have to leave the kitchen?
Richard and Bernadett – Dreamworld Cakes Patisserie
Dreamworld Cakes Patisserie was founded by Richard and his fiancée Bernadett. Having met whilst working together at Nadell Patisserie, Richard and Bernadett have gone on to relocate to Newcastle, start a business together and have a baby. It was their dream to start their own patisserie, which they have achieved with Dreamworld Cakes Patisserie. Richard spent a year working with Graham Newbold, Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s personal chef. Bernadett once made a cake for the Duchess of Cornwall, in celebration of Seven Stories – National Centre for Childrens’ Books charity.
Reshmi and Daisy – Anges de Sucre
Reshmi began her professional career as an investment banker. She took a sabbatical to train as a professional chef in Paris and decided to remain in the food industry. Reshmi started Anges de Sucre from home, first making and selling macarons via post, and then expanding into making cakes for all occasions with a small team, eventually becoming an official cakes supplier to Selfridges. Anges De Sucre has over 50K followers on Instagram and has featured on the front cover of Time Out magazine.
Daisy specializes in cake sculpting and collaborates with Anges de Sucre on occasion to create bespoke orders. She created a cake for the Princess Royal and in April 2018 she won Best in Show at the Ideal Home Exhibition for her wedding cake. Both have backgrounds in cake, and working on larger scale projects, heavily influenced with story-telling, which they believe will set them apart from the more traditional pastry chefs.
Hannah and Martina – Chiltern Firehouse
Hannah and Martina make up the team from Chiltern Firehouse in London. Despite only being 22, Hannah has already risen to the role of Head Pastry Chef at the exclusive eatery. She is so determined to be the best that she often spends her holiday allowance working at other high-end establishments, to gain experience.
Martina is currently studying Food Science at university whilst working at Chiltern Firehouse with Hannah. She has worked with Hannah since January. She started in the main kitchen but then was spotted by Hannah and recruited into the pastry section. Martina worked at various high-end restaurants in Sydney before starting at Chiltern Firehouse.
Adam and Sam – Palé Hall Hotel
Palé Hall Hotel in Wales is represented by head pastry chef Adam and commis pastry chef Sam. Since joining Palé Hall Adam has been given free rein to design the dessert menu at the young age of 23. He not only developed the à la carte menu, but also went on to create the afternoon tea menu, guest chocolate boxes and luxury birthday cake service.
Sam has wanted to be a pastry chef and studied professional cookery at college. Sam is deaf and he hopes that by taking part in the series he can inspire other deaf people to pursue the career of their dreams and not feel limited by their disability.
Adam and Sam have worked together for 8 months. Adam was impressed by Sam’s passion for pastry when they first met and has taken a lot of additional time outside of working hours to train him.
Nelson and Evaldas – South Place Hotel
Nelson and Evaldas represent South Place Hotel in London. Nelson is the head pastry chef at South Place, with Evaldas working under him as sous chef. Nelson started his culinary career as a kitchen porter and has worked his way through the ranks to become head chef. He learnt everything he knows through experience and from the chefs he’s worked with and has never taken a pastry course. Evaldas came second in the ‘Best Lithuania Chef’ competition and was then selected to compete in the ‘Young Chef Olympiad’ competition in Luxembourg, as part of the Lithuanian National Culinary Team. The two have a great working relationship, with Nelson admitting that when he is out of the kitchen Evaldas is one of the chefs he trusts with maintaining his high standards.
Steven and Connor – 1884
Team ‘1884’ is made up of Hull born Steven and Connor. Steven was named head pastry chef at the restaurant at the age of just 23. He has competed in multiple international competitions including ‘World Skills’ in Abu Dhabi. His specialty is sugar work and chocolate showpieces.
19 year old Connor has competed successfully in a number of competitions, the highlight being winning a bronze medal for the World Skills competition despite competing against people twice his age. He has been selected to represent team UK in Russia in the Worldskills/Skills Olympics competition and is in the process of starting his own cake business.
Thibault and Erica – Kimpton Fitzroy London
The Kimpton Fitzroy London team is made up of Team Captain Thibault and his team mate Erica. Originally from France and Italy, both Thibault and Erica moved to London to pursue their passion for Pastry and met working at Dominique Ansel’s Bakery. Having worked together on and off for three years, they consider themselves to be good friends and great communicators, which they feel gives them the edge on the other teams. Thibault is a master of chocolate work. Erica is a very creative, talented and determined chef, always looking for the extra detail and texture on taste profile.
They are both perfectionists and push themselves to the limit to discover new flavours, techniques and create things that have never been seen before. Thibault is a seasoned competitor, most recently competing in the World Chocolate Masters Junior.
Sarah and Leyre – Pennyhill Park
Sarah is the Head Pastry Chef at the five-star Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa in Surrey. She leads a team of 10 pastry chefs in the hotel’s kitchens. She was formerly the Head Pastry Chef at Yauatcha. She first met Leyre when she interviewed her for a position there. However, Sarah soon left Yauatcha to join Pennyhill and offered Leyre a job there instead. Sarah has been involved in competitions before, coming second in the Chocolate Masters in 2017 and also winning the Movenpick Gourmet Dessert Chef of the year award in 2012. After working under Sarah at Pennyhill, Leyre left to become head pastry chef at South Lodge Hotel. Previously, she worked at Ladurée in London and high-end Spanish patisseries like Mama Framboise in Madrid and Escriba in Barcelona. Sarah and Leyre are great friends and believe they have complementing styles, as well as matching tattoos!
Jake and Kevin – Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square
Representing Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square in this year’s competition are Jake and Kevin. Jake is British but was raised in Paris, which is where he discovered his love of pastry. After completing a diploma in culinary arts at Ferrandi school, Paris, Jake worked at several Michelin starred restaurants such as Epicure in France and Celeste in London. His proudest achievement is being part of the team at The Lanesborough when they achieved their first Michelin star, where he was sous chef. Another career highlight was making the cake for David Beckham’s retirement party. Kevin has also worked in several Michelin star restaurants and hotels. He moved from France to the UK to find a new challenge. Jake is head pastry chef of the private members club at the Four Seasons, Kevin works in the main pastry kitchen assisting the executive chef. The pair met 18 months ago when Jake was drafted in to help the main kitchen and clicked instantly.
Sanjam and Exose – The Courthouse Cheshire
As the youngest team in the competition, Sanjam and Exose feel they have a lot to prove. Both of these young chefs have a huge amount of drive and passion, with Sanjam becoming a Head Pastry Chef and Exose starting his own business, both before the age of 21. Having met at college, Sanjam and Exose have been close friends for 5 years and have always continued to push each other to learn and improve as they have grown as chefs. Exose loves experimenting with flavours, whereas Sanjam has an eye for decoration, making them the perfect pair. Sanjam had always envisioned herself following a more academic career path, until her Dad saw her love for pastry and encouraged her to pursue her passion. Exose is one of 9 brothers and sisters and garnered his love of pastry and baking from his family.
Pauline and Robert – Tigerlily
Pauline and Robert have worked together at the boutique hotel Tigerlily in Scotland for 5 months. Pauline is the head pastry chef and Robert is the head chef. Pauline initially trained as a chef, but her passion for pastry prevailed. She loves bold flavours and is inspired by her travels. She loves the creative freedom of the patisserie industry, and creating spectacular creations from scratch.
Robert has worked at Tigerlily for two and a half years. Pauline describes Robert as ‘a big kid in a playground’ when he’s in the kitchen as he’s so enthusiastic about everything. He loves trying out new imaginative ideas and he is very confident with sugar blowing and pulling.
Tigerlily’s menu offers upmarket dining with Asian influences. It’s listed as the best bar/hotel in Edinburgh by The Telegraph and has excellent reviews on TripAdvisor.
Mark and Gaetano – Honoré Patisserie
The team from Honoré Patisserie have decades of experience in the world of pastry. Gaetano and Mark are great friends and have a terrific working relationship, even going as far as to say they are like ‘husband and wife’. Mark admits he’s taking part to prove he is as good as he thinks he is. As the oldest of the teams, they are out for a bit of recognition and to prove they can still cut it with the rest.
Mark has worked at Honoré Patisserie for 14 years. Naples-born Gaetano has worked there for 17 years. They have worked together for years and Gaetano really looks up to Mark – Mark is Gaetano’s hero.
Honoré Patisserie is a high-end business which has been running for 27 years, specializing in supplying fine patisserie and cakes to premier sporting events.
Bake Off: The Professionals, Tuesdays, 8pm on Channel 4.