Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
I am the chef and owner of a premium dessert company The Dessert Deli. I started the company aged 27 in 2008, producing luxurious handmade dessert, and my products are now stocked in places such as Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Whole Foods Market stores. I can also be found every Saturday on my market stall on Northcote Road, in Clapham Junction, London. I began my career training on an apprenticeship with Jean Christophe Novelli at his London restaurants, and worked as Sous Pastry Chef at The Ivy, Head Pastry Chef at Le Caprice and Head Chef at Popina, an award-winning artisan bakery specialising in product development.
Tell us a bit about the book?
The Dessert Deli is my first published cookbook and I am delighted to share my recipes with food lovers across the country. The ethos behind the book is to bring luxurious desserts to the comfort of your own home, with an emphasis on using the highest quality ingredients available to you. The book contains a range of recipes including tarts, cakes, elegant desserts, pastry and homely puddings.
What was the inspiration behind it?
I was lucky enough to be approached by my publisher Paperbooks about writing the book. They were keen to work with a fellow upcoming independent business and had heard about my business through social networking. I wanted the book to be approachable and offer food lovers cooking tips, that covered everything, even if your baking wasn’t quite going to plan. My business has some fantastic loyal customers who I have got to know over the years and I am delighted the book has a great community feel about it – including pictures from my stall customers and recipe testers.
Which is your favourite project?
That is a tricky one, but I feel it would have to be my bestseller – Chocolate Mousse and Honeycomb. When I asked my customers on my stall what recipes they would most like to see in my book, this was the number one on the list. Everybody loves chocolate, and the method for making the honeycomb is particularly explosive, so be careful if you try it!
What is your craft space like?
I wrote quite a lot of the book at the desk in my kitchen during my breaks and any spare moments I had, so I was very much amid the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. I cook in small batches normally; however the recipes still needed a lot of work to be scaled down considerably to ensure they made appropriate quantities for home baking. It was perfect to write the book in the kitchen as I was able to test the recipes during the actual process of writing.
Have you always been creative?
I am very arty and my brain never switches off. I’m always thinking of ideas. If I’m honest, pastry wasn’t my first true passion in the kitchen when I began my life as a chef. However, having to learn the hard way via many mistakes, this soon made me wise up and appreciate the precision and skills required to make the perfect dessert.
When did you first start crafting?
My memories when I was about 6 were making Victoria Sponges with my Nan. I used to love baking cakes with her; I remember her always storing them in an old fashioned tin. I first started cooking properly when I was 13, helping out at weekends at a kitchen in Lulworth Cove.
Who are your crafty heroes?
I like the old fashioned Mrs Beeton’s and WI Books, as the recipes really work.
Food heroes – Mark Hix, Marcus Bean to name a couple, I like down to earth chefs who use top quality ingredients and present them simply. It should be all about the flavour and source of ingredients.
Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration for baking comes from a variety of places, from the chefs and restaurants I have worked with over the years, to the fantastic and inspiring food producers I meet on a day to day basis. I am inspired by fantastic ingredients, and love to cook what is seasonal – Berry Eton Mess and Gooseberry Fool in the summer and pumpkin tarts in the autumn.
What's next for you?
In the next couple of months I am busy doing promotional events for my cookbook. The run-up to Christmas is one of my busiest periods of the year, so not long from now I will be trapped in the kitchen making delicious mince pies and Christmas cakes for my customers.
The Dessert Deli is a gorgeous, mouth-watering collection of amazing recipes, bringing luxurious desserts to the comfort of your own home. The Dessert Deli brings beautiful desserts to their rightful place: the forefront of any meal. Not just offering cupcakes, this cookbook covers the full spectrum of tasty treats: indulgent Belgian Chocolate Mousse and Honeycomb, zingy Orange and Passion Fruit Trifle, yummy Banoffee Cheesecake, to decadent Amaretto Chocolate Truffles. Learn how to adapt recipes to your liking and the importance of always using the best quality ingredients. Set up in 2008, The Dessert Deli quickly became one of the highlights of the popular Northcote Road Market, as well as being stocked in some of London's most prestigious Food Halls, providing luxurious handmade desserts for food lovers.