Rebecca Marshman, Head Pastry Chef, The All England Lawn Tennis Club

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th August 2017

Rebecca started working at Compass Group UK & Ireland at the beginning of 2017 as head pastry chef at The All England Lawn Tennis Club.

Working alongside a number of high-profile chefs, Rebecca enjoyed catering for her first Championships this summer and created a number of delicious fine-dining desserts for guests.

During her eight-year career Rebecca has had the opportunity to take part in Chef Race, a TV cooking competition. Cooking her way across the USA, she describes it as one of the highlights of her career. She competed in eight out of 10 episodes taking her all the way to the semi-final. However, her proudest moment so far was winning the prestigious Apprentice of the Year award at The Craft Guild of Chefs when she was 17 years old.

The Staff Canteen spoke to Rebecca about catering for her first championship, finding inspiration online and her time on the US cooking competition, Chef Race USA.

pear mousse chocolate sorbet
pear mousse chocolate sorbet

Did you always know you wanted to work with pastry?

After leaving school at the age of 16 I took up an apprenticeship at Westminster Kingsway College and have since worked in the main kitchen at various famous London restaurants. Along the way I have become more passionate about working with pastry so as part of my career I started to focus more on this area. It has worked out well as I am a bit of a perfectionist which is something that pastry creation demands and I have a sweet tooth!

What’s it like being head pastry chef for The All England Lawn Tennis Club?

It’s a great honour to be head pastry chef at Wimbledon, sometimes I can’t believe I am! Wimbledon is such an iconic sporting venue and it’s an amazing opportunity to be able to work here. I loved working at The Championships for the first time this summer and enjoyed the grandeur and spectacle of the occasion. I am also looking forward to bringing new ideas to the Club and contributing to an already iconic venue.

How did you come to work there?

After applying for the job I was required to showcase my pastry skills as part of my interview process. This included baking breads, preparing afternoon tea and making fine dining desserts. This was quite a challenge as I had to really think about ingredients and the types of dessert I wanted to make. It was challenging but great fun. I was delighted when I found out that I’d got the job!

How much busier were you when The Wimbledon Championships were televised?

I was very busy! Not only with my normal day to day work though. You have to be a team player when The Championships are on. There are many things that need doing and it’s all hands-on deck. That’s what makes it all so exciting. Around 39,000 people are on site every day, so I was always prepared for it to be very busy.

How does working at the All England Club inspire you and your dish creations?

I work with some amazing chefs and it’s always great to be able to get inspiration from colleagues. I am always motivated by my surroundings at work which stimulate my imagination. I recently made a tennis ball meringue sphere for a dessert and tennis ball macaroons. I love to try and tie in a theme with my desserts and you can always find something to inspire you at Wimbledon.

The tea lawn
The tea lawn

Where else do you find inspiration?

Online! Social media is my favourite way and I love seeing people posting new things and seeing what other chefs out there are doing. A rummage through my Dad’s old cookery book collection is also a great way to find an old favourite recipe and put a modern twist on it.

What are your favourite flavour combinations and why?

I wouldn’t say I have a favourite combination but I do like to put new flavours together. I like using flavour combinations that people may find unusual. It’s always a great pleasure to see people’s delight when flavours they feel don’t go together actually do! One example would be sweet potato ice cream with a dark chocolate orange ganache.

How did you get involved in the TV cooking competition show in America?

I got involved with the TV cooking competition called Chef Race USA through college after one of my teachers encouraged me to apply for the show. It was one of the best experiences of my life, cooking my way across the States. I loved taking part and was very proud on how far I progressed through the competition as I competed in eight out of 10 episodes.

What’s next for you in the future?

This year has been brilliant so far and in the future, I hope to develop my career further at Wimbledon. There are so many talented chefs out there and I want to make sure I am always on top of my game and be the best I can be. My aim is to keep growing, gain knowledge and come up with more beautiful creations.

*A question from our sponsors Callebaut:

With special occasion dining being so popular, do you add special pastry dishes to your menu to allow your guests to celebrate, making their meal even more memorable?

Special occasion dining is very popular and I really like to create dishes that resemble the type of event being catered for. For example, if I am putting together a menu for Valentine’s Day, I think it’s always lovely to do a sharing dessert using classic flavours like champagne, chocolate and rose. These touches always help in making the night more special.

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th August 2017

Rebecca Marshman, Head Pastry Chef, The All England Lawn Tennis Club