We recently welcomed Hannah Catley, Bristol-based pastry chef, owner of Lockdown Loaves and previous ‘Bake Off: The Professionals’ contestant to lead a pastry masterclass for our School of Food students.
Josh Eggleton, who is one of the founders of The School of Food, asked Hannah to visit the college and run a pastry class in order to enrich the student’s skills.
Hannah’s career previously featured a ten-year-stint working in restaurants in London as a pastry chef before returning to Bristol and opening her very own bakery.
Utilising her expert knowledge of pastry work during the masterclass, the students learnt how to make choux buns with a little crackle on top, puff pastry, shortcrust, sweet pastry and even how to line tarts.
Talking of the basics of pastry work, Hannah commented: “Everyone seems to be terrified of the fundamentals of pastry work but it’s really simple if you know what you’re doing. I’m just going over hacks and tips on how to make it work to your advantage rather than it being super complicated and hard to understand.
“I think pastry can be a harder thing to conceptualise because you have to follow a recipe, unlike main kitchen work where you can kind of make it up as you go along and throw in ingredients here and there with it still working out and having the opportunity to correct it a lot more.”
The kitchen at our College Green Centre was the backdrop to golden pastries of all shapes and sizes emerging from the oven as students sported their oven gloves and got stuck in, learning new skills and pastry techniques.
Hannah’s passion for leading the masterclass is partly due to the fact that she believes that pastry work is somewhat of a dying art and is something that should be continued by active practice.
She continued: “I think a lot of what we covered today shows that it’s actually possible to work on your mistakes rather than making a mistake and never trying again. It’s good to learn from what you’re doing and then improving.”
The School of Food is an innovative vocational hospitality training programme for the city’s future chefs and restauranteurs that strives to address the hospitality skills shortage in Bristol and the surrounding area.