Rebecca Marshman: "I wanted to stick with pastry because it was a passion"

The Staff Canteen

Rebecca MarshMan, a talented Group Head Pastry Chef working with BaxterStorey in the private sector, has carved a delectable niche for herself in the world of hospitality.

Currently overseeing two sites and heading the pastry departments, Rebecca manages a team of pastry chefs who excel in crafting delightful confections.

Her culinary realm spans private dining experiences, a retail bakery, and a diverse array of sweet creations.

From sumptuous pastries to exquisite bread, she brings her own unique touch to every creation.

Describing her currently role, Rebecca said: “I work in the private sector, I run and look after two sites, and I have a pastry chef on each site.”

“We look after private dining, we have a retail offer, and we basically do anything that’s sweet, sometimes bread, in both those settings,” she added.

Who is Rebecca MarshMan?

Rebecca's culinary odyssey started in prestigious establishments like Claridges and Hilton Park Lane.

Even at a tender age of nineteen, she ventured across the Atlantic for a TV stint in the United States, a testament to her daring spirit. However, her heart was drawn to the world of pastries, a realm of flavours and textures that ignited her passion.

“I decided I wanted to stick with pastry because it was a passion and an area which I found really interesting, and I was quite good at it, so I stuck with the pastry.”

“I’ve worked at places like Wimbledon, which was one of my biggest roles, and then I came more into the private sector with BaxterStorey.”

Discussing her cooking style in more detail, Rebecca revealed the she focuses on making recipes that not only taste amazing but that they are also presented beautifully as well.

“My cooking style I would say is fun. When you’re eating something on a plate you eat with your eyes, and you want to see not only an amazing dish, but it needs to taste great as well,” Rebecca revealed.

Looking back at how her career has influenced her pastry work, Rebecca said: “I don’t always stick to the exact rules of pastry, I sometimes like to do things a little bit my own way, I think that’s probably from when I was in the main kitchen but I think food should be fun, and making food should be fun, and especially when you eat it you want it to be fun but it should also taste amazing.”

Afternoon teas, chocolate dessert recipes, and local flavours

One of Rebecca's true loves as a pastry chef is crafting afternoon tea, a quintessentially British tradition. She revels in recreating the elegance and refinement of high tea, ensuring that every component, from scones to delicate pastries, is a work of art.

“My favourite thing to cook as a pastry chef has to be afternoon tea. It’s a classic, when you go these five-star hotels and they’re creating these amazing pastries,” Rebecca explained.

She added: “I love recreating that and luckily in this role we have private functions where do have afternoon tea, which has to be my favourite.”

Chocolate holds a special place in Rebecca's heart, particularly Valrhona Dulcey, a caramel chocolate that adds a luscious dimension to her creations.

“I love using chocolate, I like using all different types of chocolate, my favourite would have to be Valrhona Dulcey because it is like a caramel chocolate, it’s delicious,” she explained.

She also embraces locally sourced ingredients like honey and lavender from a rooftop garden, championing sustainability and local flavors.

Describing how she utilises local produce in her current role, Rebecca said: “When it comes to ingredients that are more British, I love using local honey in a dessert, because I think it’s a great thing, and also lavender from our roof top garden, which is amazing.”

Championing in-house pastry on site

Looking to the future, Rebecca aims to expand her presence in the private sector.

Currently overseeing two locations, Rebecca’s aspirations include taking on more locations and bringing her pastry expertise to a wider audience.

Discussing how she sees her role progressing, Rebecca said: “I think my future is probably going to be always based in the private sector and what I would like to do, at the moment I look after two sites but I would love it to eventually to look after more sites, and bring more in-house pastry to more sites.”

She also has dreams of writing a cookbook, a project that would undoubtedly inspire aspiring pastry chefs and food enthusiasts alike.

“Another thing I’ve always wanted to do is write a book, so I think maybe one day that will be where I’m heading to,” she added.

Working in Pastry and Advice for Young Chefs

Rebecca emphasised the importance of considering pastry as a career choice, highlighting that it's not limited to sweet creations alone.

Talking about the benefits of pastry, Rebecca explained: “I think when chefs are looking to decide where they want to go in their career, they really need to consider is pastry really for me. I know that the main kitchen is more popular, but I do believe you can learn so much in pastry.”

“It isn’t all just sweet. There’s bread, there’s savoury options, and it’s so technical. If you are in that technical mindset, pastry might be more set for you where you can learn recipes but also grow and expand,” she added.

Offering advice to young chefs in the industry, Rebecca encourages those young in their careers to be like sponges, absorbing knowledge and experiences from their culinary journeys, despite the challenges that may arise.

The rewards, she believes, are worth the effort.

“I think most young chefs, the best advice I can give is just be a sponge, wherever you’re working be a sponge, take everything in, it can be hard and it can be difficult but there’s some great rewards from being a chef,” Rebecca explained.

Rebecca Marshman Pastry Chef baxterStorey


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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 5th February 2024

Rebecca Marshman: "I wanted to stick with pastry because it was a passion"