Stephen Espouy, Pastry Chef, The Royal Yacht Britannia

The Staff Canteen

Stephen Espouy is a pastry chef at The Royal Yacht Britannia – once a home to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family, Britannia is now a 5 star evening events venue where the same high standards can be found on board today as when in Royal Service.

Stephen joined The Royal Yacht Britannia in May 2015 from the Ritz Carlton Sharq Village & Spa, Qatar. Having previously worked in Kuwait, Ireland, Scotland, France and Australia Stephen returned to settle in Scotland and accepted the role of executive pastry chef on board Britannia.

Bringing with him a wealth of experience, Stephen is responsible for designing and making all the desserts, petit fours and chocolate delicacies that are served on board, as well as the dessert canapés for exclusive drinks receptions. Leading his team, Stephen oversees all cakes prepared for the Royal Deck Tea Room. Britannia’s on board bakery has recently expanded to include a brand new Pastry Galley.

The Staff Canteen recently caught up with Stephen to find out why he thinks pastry requires a lot of patience, the challenges of working on a boat and why it’s important to master the basics.

Stephen Espouy, Royal Yacht Britannia

What made you want to pursue a career in the hospitality industry?

When I moved to Scotland as a teenager I would often do some work for my father who at the time had a bakery. When I finished school he was opening a chocolaterie so I started working full time with him and continued my career thereafter.

How did you end up working in the Pastry section?

After working with my father for so many years it was a natural progression to work in Pastry. Also, I always liked working with my hands and Pastry lets me express myself creatively.

Why do you feel Pastry is such a specialised area?

I think it requires a lot of patience, especially when you’re starting off, as you will often have to put a lot of effort into something only to be disappointed by the result.

What are the biggest challenges in your role as pastry chef?

It’s a job that can take up a lot of time and often the hardest part is making time to have a life outside of work.

Logistically, working on a boat comes with its own challenges, for example, we work in Britannia’s original Royal Galleys (with port holes for windows!) and space can be tight. But recently our Pastry Galley was refurbished and extended, giving us more room to work.stephan espouy

How did you end up working on The Royal Yacht Britannia?

My family and I wanted to move back to Scotland from Qatar and The Royal Yacht Britannia felt like a great opportunity.

How does it compare to working in a restaurant?

It’s a mix between restaurant and banqueting. We do banqueting-style functions in our State Dining Room but because we have the luxury of time and often smaller functions, that, to a certain extent, give us the ability to serve restaurant style food to our diners.

What is it like working with Executive Chef, Mark Alston?

It’s really good working with Mark Alston, he’s a great manager with strong organisational skills, and has amazing attention to detail in his work. He always pushes his team to the maximum.

Info bar 

Signature dishes

Passion Fruit Tart

Chocolate Aztec Cake

Desert island desserts

Chocolate Ice Cream

Vanilla Flan


Strawberries and Mascarpone

Chocolate Gateau

You have worked in numerous places around the world, who would you say has inspired you in your career and why?

I would say throughout my career my father has been the biggest source of inspiration for me. He just has a great pallet and is always full of ideas.

Pre grapefruit dessert  by Stephen Espouy, Royal Yacht Britannia

Pre grapefruit dessert  by

Stephen Espouy, Royal Yacht Britannia

I would also say Chocolatier, Olivier Nicod. He really opened my eyes to what was out there and within a really short space of time. My former boss, Nawaf AL Sharekh taught me a lot on running a business and managing people.

And finally, Pastry Chef, Stephane Sucheta, I really enjoyed working with him, he has a lot of experience and ideas!

What is it you love about pastry?

Stephen Espouy, Royal Yacht


I like the fact that creation never stops, it’s always ongoing and you can always create new things. If you look at combining flavour, texture and presentation, there are probably endless ways of creating the same dish.

Are there any sections of pastry you really don’t like?

Not really, however sugar work is an area I was never too fond of.

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

I don’t think that learning and evolving ever stops - there are always areas to improve upon.

What advice would you give to someone looking to begin a career in pastry?

Start at the bottom. It’s really important in pastry to master the basics and the classics, this will give you a base to build on.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m very motivated by Britannia’s ambitious and exciting plans to redevelop a former lighthouse supply boat called MV Fingal into a new 5 star hotel and function space which will be permanently based in Leith and due to open late 2017.  So I’m really looking forward to the future both aboard Britannia and MV Fingal.

*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?

Of course, we often get special requests for different menus or dishes and are happy to do so.

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



In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th November 2016

Stephen Espouy, Pastry Chef, The Royal Yacht Britannia