Leading patisserie expert Claire Clark has urged suppliers to “not forget about the pastry chef” when it comes to marketing the benefits that new foodservice equipment can offer pastry kitchens.
Clark, who has just launched the Claire Clark Academy at Milton Keynes College – a state-of-the-art kitchen training facility designed to educate the next generation of pastry chefs – had a clear message for suppliers in terms of the role they have to play supporting the work of pastry professionals.
“I would just say, ‘don’t forget about the pastry’ because there are more high-profile chefs in the world than there are high-profile pastry chefs, but we’re an important part of a kitchen and an important part of the process. So if a pastry chef approaches you, don’t write them off, listen to what they have to say,” she said.
“Many of the [sales] people that come around to do the demos only show what they can offer to the chef, well pastry chefs use them too, so get the right training to be able to promote it to the pastry chefs as well. If your equipment doesn’t just benefit the kitchen but the pastry then promote it.”
Clark is also the co-owner of high-end London patisserie firm Pretty Sweet and she admits that opening her eyes up to cooking equipment innovation has paid dividends for her business.
It is now an avid user of multifunctional cooking equipment having invested last year in a Frima VarioCooking Center. And she admits there was a time when she would have never envisaged using such an appliance in her environment.
“It’s a piece of kit that’s really for the kitchen but you have to look at it outside the box and when we saw it we were thinking, ‘we do functions for 30,000 and we could make lemon curd in there and it’s going to come out exact time and time again. It makes something like 50 litres in 20 minutes. So I can make that and I can fill up my tart shells and my job’s done. We cook vast amounts of rice pudding in it — again it takes about 20 minutes and it delivers consistency time and time again. Yet until I saw somebody else using it I would have never have looked at it as being a piece of kit for a pastry chef.”
She cited Rondo pastry production equipment, Rational combi ovens and Induced Energy induction as other items of equipment that have become integral to her business for their speed and efficiency.