Brighton chef’s skills impress on Channel 4’s Bake Off
CHANNEL 4’s Great British Bake Off: The Professionals is in full swing with teams of pastry chefs from top hotels, restaurants and small businesses competing to be crowned the best in the country.
Hosts Liam Charles and Tom Allen have seen them prepare such delicacies as carrot-shaped desserts, lemon meringue pie and tiramisu before.
So far Julien Plumart from Brighton has impressed so far and on Tuesday evening he will be participating in ‘Chocolate Week’ which will also include a ‘horror themed surprise’.
Nick Mosley asked the master pastry chef about his career.
What is your professional background?
I grew up in my parents’ restaurant in the French Alps countryside.
I started pastry school at the age of 15 then I specialized in chocolate and
confectionery followed by a master’s degree at the National School of Pastry in Yssingeaux.
How long have you worked in Brighton and why did you decide to move here?
I arrived in Brighton from France in June 2004.
A recruitment agency contacted me to join the team as Pastry Chef at Havana Restaurant in Duke Street.
I opened my first store at 48 Queen’s Road in May 2008 and the rest is history.
Tell us about your food
We defend a unique French pastry. I select the best ingredient and use my 25 years of experience to create foods that bring happiness and real pleasure to the lives of our customers.
Our offer ranges from award-winning sourdough pastries to a wide selection of macaroons, pies, éclairs and party cakes.
As our guests can sit down, we also have a very tasty brunch menu and afternoon tea.
How did you come to be on Bake Off: The Professionals?
This is my second appearance on the series while I was in the first series of The Professionals about five years ago.
Every year the producers call me back but you have to have the time to do it and the right teammate to do it correctly.
So when they called me in September of last year, I thought ‘now is the right time, let’s do this’.
Showing up on the show is the icing on the cake for my team and I after years of hard work in our store.
Television programs are intense to film. How was your experience?
It was a great experience filming. You don’t realize how stylish and organized a TV crew is until you see it.
Some days were quite long, but you also spend time waiting too.
I have to say the production team is the best in the business, so as a chef you have the space to perform your art at the highest level – and that’s what the viewer wants to see.
Are there any competitors that you particularly admire?
I really like Kevin and Maria Victoria from the Lanesborough Hotel in London. He always has crazy ideas!
What are your plans for the future?
We are improving our logistics and making sure that our level of quality remains high because we have been very, very busy since Bake Off started airing.
We will continue to strive for perfection and create new pastries every weekend.
I will also carry out consulting missions to restaurants and hotels with professional training. It’s really hard to find a good pastry chef these days, but you can easily train a good chef. I also want to do internships in hotel schools.
We must inspire the new generation and pass on our knowledge.
Where else in Brighton do you like to eat and drink?
I like my morning brunch at Lucky Beach at King’s Road Arches or the roast at Petit Pois at Ship Street.
Otherwise, we are quite comfortable at home to cook and drink. Our garden parties are something.
What’s your favorite sweet treat and why?
That’s the million pound question! I would say a warm apple pie with rum cream and vanilla ice cream, just because it’s delicious and so simple.
* Watch Julien on Great British Bake Off on Channel 4 Tuesdays at 8pm.
Professional pairs from across the country compete in a series of competitive races judged by famous pastry chefs Cherish Finden and Benoit Blin.
Twelve pairs of professionals started the competition, which is divided into two rounds. The final will take place in August.