Lucy Jones, Head Pastry Chef, Coworth Park

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th December 2016

Lucy Jones, formerly of The Ritz which holds a star in the Michelin Guide UK, is the head pastry chef at Coworth Park.

Lucy’s passion for cooking developed when she was studying business at University. Before joining Dorchester Collection’s luxury country house hotel, Coworth Park, Lucy was sous pastry chef at The Ritz Hotel in London working under renowned chef, John Williams

The Staff Canteen caught up with Lucy to find out why it’s harder than ever to find pastry chefs, collaborating with chef Adam Smith on new creations and constructing a gingerbread Coworth Park for Christmas.

Lucy Jones, Coworth Park
Lucy Jones, Coworth Park

Had you always wanted to be a pastry chef?

Truthfully, no. I’d love to say that it was always a dream but it wasn’t. I went to University and studied business and law first, during my time there a friend of mine left to do a kitchen apprenticeship. I found myself incredibly interested in what he was doing and realised that was the career for me. I had always been hugely into food and baking but it wasn’t something that I had considered. I think it is something that needs more promotion in schools, particularly pastry.

Do you think TV shows like Crème de la Crème have helped in promoting pastry?

The shows have definitely increased the nation’s passion for bakery and all things cake and pastry related. I haven’t seen that translate into more people wanting to work in the industry myself but I would be thrilled if it did. It's currently harder to find pastry chefs than ever. It’s a hard job and you need to be really passionate about it. It’s not something to do unless you’re really in it-100% dedication.

>>> Related: The Chef Shortage

How did you get into the industry?

The minute I graduated I started sending letters out to the best hotels and restaurants across London for a job, as well as enrolling in the University of West London to do a two year foundation degree in pastry. I didn’t have the experience but they kindly took me on as I was so eager and then I luckily found a job at The Ritz, I worked there five days a week and went to college on my days off.

What was it like at the Ritz?

I loved my time there, as a Londoner to have been a part of one of London’s institutions was really special. I truly believe hotels are the best places for pastry chefs to be and there are less and less that are self-sufficient now. It was a brilliant place to train and chef John Williams is such an amazing character to be around and learn from. He was, and continues to be, a great mentor.

Can you talk us through your role as head pastry chef at Coworth Park?

It’s great! I love it. There’s a huge challenge ahead of me which I’m very excited for. There’s a very large scope here for me to do everything a pastry chef could want. There’s afternoon tea in the Drawing Room, Restaurant Coworth Park, The Spa and The Barn. There are also events, the amenities and in-room-dining as well. It’s big enough with regards to outlets but in a manageable size that allows me to control and see everything that goes out (within reason). This for me is important as we can maintain consistency and really build the quality. I also like the location as I am 100% focused on the property and our guests while I’m here, but it takes 30 minutes on the train to London so I can get to the city quickly when I need to.

Info Bar

Signature dishes

Coffee Mousse, Marsala Ice cream

Sugar Apple, Caramelised Almonds and Crème fraiche

Marmalade Cake with Rice pudding mousse

 Desert island desserts

My nan's apple crumble and custard (my mum's would be acceptable too!)

Millionaire Shortbread

Jam Doughnuts

Tirimissu

Bakewell Tart

How many chefs do you have working in your team?

It should be 12, and we are currently recruiting. It’s a fresh start and we’re looking to build a new team. The career opportunities here are great, Dorchester Collection is a really fantastic company to work for.

Orange and white chocolate mousse
Orange and white chocolate mousse

Was it quite daunting going in to work in the kitchen of such a well-known establishment (re: Coworth Park)?

Honestly I was mostly excited to get in and get going. It takes such a long time to build a team and get things how you want them to be, and although on the one side it’s daunting I try to focus more on what we’ve already achieved and where things are going. There is such a fantastic opportunity here.

How do you work on desserts for the menu at Coworth Park? Do you work closely with the head chef or is it down to you which ones make the cut?

Both executive chef, Adam Smith and I have a collaborative approach. Mostly I’ll come up with something and we then go try it and see if it needs any development. Adam and I have worked together before and I think we’re both very much on the same page. We have a similar style and thinking. Bouncing ideas and getting inspiration from one another is how it should be.

If you had to pick a favourite dessert what would it be and why?

I had a caramel dessert at Kitchen Table last year that I think about a lot! It was simple but amazing; I definitely have a sweet tooth. And millionaire shortbread…or choux buns!

Lucy Jones
Lucy Jones

Do you have a favourite patisserie book you like to use for recipes?

I like Stephan Le Rouxs’ book ‘Praline’, that’s got some great ideas in and Fredrick Baus’ ‘Au Coeur de saverus’ which is a pastry bible.

Where do you find inspiration for your creations?

My sister lives in Paris and I often go and visit her and just wander around looking in windows, seeing what’s out there and how I could do it my way. For me it’s not about doing something new it’s about looking at a classic and giving it a modern twist. I also often start with what I’d like to eat and then develop it into a dish.

What are your favourite flavours and flavour combinations and why?

I like simple things, caramelised apple with calvados, milk chocolate and hazelnut and I’m excited we’re close to Rhubarb season now. Rhubarb ginger and champagne is an absolute treat.

Are there any areas of pastry you would like to learn more about?

I think there are always things to learn. For the moment my mind is firmly at Coworth Park, and Christmas, however I’d love to do some more sugar work next year. I love bread and Vienoissary also so that’s another challenge for us.

What’s next for the future?

Like I say there’s a huge opportunity here at Coworth Park, so my first focus is to build my new team, and move the pastry team to the level I will be proud of – at the same time as meeting the daily demand put on the kitchen as I am discovering that there is never a dull day here, Coworth Park is immensely popular and we get great guests. I do like competitions and would love to do the MCA one day, but for now constructing gingerbread Coworth Park for Christmas is what’s on my mind!

*A question from our sponsors Callebaut:

With Christmas almost upon us, is there anything special you add to your pastry menu to celebrate?

I love Christmas as I can get a Mont Blanc on- Caramalised Pear, Rum, Chestnut and vanilla, can’t go wrong with that- and a little milk chocolate of course.

Are you interested in a career as a Pastry Chef? Find all the information and jobs available here

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th December 2016

Lucy Jones, Head Pastry Chef, Coworth Park