Thisweek’s Londoner is Joanne Todd, Head Pastry Chef at The Royal Horseguards hotel. If you’ve ever tried one of the Afternoon Teas at the hotel then we think you’ll agree she is a very talented lady, if you haven’t then you should. Check out what happened when we had words below…
Firstly Joanne tell us where do you live in London and why?
I live in a two-bed flat in a character converted pub near London Bridge where I have been for the last few years. I chose the area as it is fairly close to work so I can walk when the weather is good and it’s a real foodie heaven with Borough Market and Bermondsey Street so nearby. There are so many lovely places to eat around Borough – it’s a great place to be when you are working with food and drink.
You know a thing or two about pastry and we can vouch (we’ve tasted) that you make some cracking cakes. What made you decide to work as a pastry chef?
I’ve been really lucky in that I have always known that I wanted work with pastry, I just didn’t realise that it qualified as a real job until I was a little older! I have always had a passion for baking, sweet things in particular and I used to do a lot of it in my younger years.
By sheer chance my sister mentioned my love of baking to a regular client at her barber shop, who she knew was a chef. He was a regular on the TV show Ready, Steady, Cook and offered to give me some advice and even offered me an apprenticeship at his restaurant in Reigate. A few years later I moved to London to work for Gordon Ramsey Holdings and the rest is a blur of cake and sugar.
What are your favourite afternoon teas?
Of course I would have to say the best afternoon tea is at The Royal Horseguards – I love our team and the service is warm and unpretentious. We have just been presented with our second Tea Guild award of excellence by the UK Tea Council which we are extremely proud of. Afternoon teas at The Royal Horseguards have been my ‘baby’ since I started here and I love working with my fantastic team to come up with the next creation. Our signature afternoon tea is heavily steered towards the classic, while our monthly limited editions let us introduce people to trends and allow us to play around with new techniques and designs. Some of my current favourites include the Rolling Scones afternoon tea which we designed to celebrate the 50 anniversary of the Rolling Stones as well as the macho Father’s Day tea – honestly not a pink cupcake in sight!
Where in London would you recommend visitors going to try cakes? Apart from your own of course!
Apart from my own cakes at The Royal Horseguards, there are some really lovely little patisseries in Kensington which I love exploring in my spare time. Cocomaya Fine Chocolatier & Artisan Baker near Marble Arch is lovely and fantastic for chocolate. And Peggy Porshen’s boutique is just divine.
Finally what would your perfect day in London entail?
It would have to start off with an early morning visit to Borough Market which is one of my favourite places in London, followed by a leisurely stroll through the City and indulging in a spot of shoe shopping with friends. Food is a huge part of my life so the day would of course be topped off by a delicious meal in one of London’s many amazing restaurants. My favourite is Marcus Wareing’s restaurant at The Berkeley but I also love exploring new cuisines; just recently I have eaten in Morrocan, Ethiopian,Thai and Japanese restaurants.
Thanks Joanne, if our readers weren’t hungry before they certain will be after reading that. Fancy try Joanne’s cakes? Then you know where you can find them.