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Le Cordon Bleu London

Meet our Chefs

Chef Julie Walsh
Introducing Chef Loïc Malfait
Chef Nicolas Houchet

 

Featured

 

Meet Chef Julie Walsh

Chef Chef Julie Walsh

This month meet Chef Julie Walsh, our very own celebrity chef. From working at elite hotels to owning her own cake decorating business to undertaking celebrity commissions Chef Julie has done it all!...

 

What’s in your fridge?

Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh pasta, steak, chicken breast, yoghurts, Cheese Strings, Dairylea Triangles, sausages (not all for me - I’m sure you can spot a few of my son’s favourites). Also a few tubs of leftovers, as they say ‘once a chef always a chef’, I never quite got the hang of downsizing my recipes! Finally, of course absolutely no butter, cream, champagne, wine or chocolate – you do believe me don’t you?!

What is the most unusual item you have created out of chocolate/sugar/cake?

I have done so many over the years it’s hard to choose. One of my favourites was a life-size Wurlitzer duke box made out of solid chocolate that played music. It weighed about 80 kg and was for the wedding of a famous musician. It played a track he had written and recorded for his bride, and at the reception the children were asked to smash open the front part so that thousands of M&M’s came spilling out - only the red ones of course – very rock star!

Who has been your favourite person to cook for?

Regardless of all the celebrities I have cooked for, nothing comes close to being able to cook for and with my son. Watching him grow up to appreciate good food is very rewarding. I think it is very important for every child to learn the difference between freshly cooked foods and processed foods, and for them to understand where food comes from and the impact it can have on their lives. Making the right choices with food can start from a very early age.

If you could teach your students one thing what would it be?

Knowledge is meant to be shared so learn your lessons, perfect your technique and pass it on. You never stop learning, no matter how much you think you know. Even now I still like to learn new techniques and our industry is constantly evolving, so the learning curve never ends, it just becomes a little more gentle.

What’s your earliest cooking memory?

Definitely my Mum’s home cooking. I was very lucky that she was able to stay home and look after me when I was growing up, so she would always make fresh meals from scratch. She was quite experimental – I will never forget her first attempt at making curry – thankfully my taste buds have now fully recovered! She was very proficient at making her repertoire of recipes and never used a recipe book (or scales for that matter!). There were always freshly baked biscuits and cakes at home, which made me very popular at school. It wasn’t unusual for our house to be inundated with groups of ‘friends’ after school!

What is your favourite pastry chef gadget?

My Kitchen Aid mixer – actually I have three – which is perhaps too many?! But I must confess I like to accessorize with colours, so every time I redecorate the kitchen it’s time for a new one! I have so many gadgets that are rarely used, but my Kitchen Aid is the workhorse of my kitchen.

What do you like to make with your son Rowan?

He loves making cakes, muffins and cookies, especially the mixing and decorating parts. However, just like his Mum, he’s not a great fan of actually eating his creations, so we usually end up giving them away to friends and neighbours. He also likes helping with my ‘mise en place’ when I make dinner – he is getting very proficient at slicing and peeling vegetables – although his ‘turned’ mushrooms could do with a little more work!

 

 

Meet our chefs

 

Introducing Chef Loïc Malfait

Introducing Chef Loïc Malfait

Introducing Chef Loïc Malfait; Cuisine Teaching Chef, Academic Director and star of the Le Cordon Bleu London campus video! Born in Lille and trained in Vichy, Chef Loïc has gone on to work as Head Chef at several of London’s top establishments and manage as many as 36 hospitality rooms, all before taking up a top spot at Le Cordon Bleu London. As well as bestowing our students with his vast culinary knowledge, he has continued to win many gold and silver competition medals and has held positions such as Vice President of L’Association Culinaire Française. He was promoted to Academic Director in 2009 taking charge of the London school programs and managing the educational administration of the school.
Read on to see how Chef Loïc tackled our culinary quiz...

 

What’s in your fridge?

Butter, butter and more butter, cheeses and saussison for a quick bite, pancetta for emergencies and plenty of vegetables.

Who is your favourite person to cook for?

My family as they are very critical when tasting my food. They are like my second set of taste buds.

If you could teach your students one thing what would it be?

Organisation and method. I strongly believe that without these it is very hard to make magic in your kitchen.

If you could only eat one dish for the rest of your life what would it be?

‘Steak, frites et salade’ - a dish I started to cook at 8 years old!

What inspired you to become a chef?

My parents used to run a restaurant so when I was young I was directly exposed the trade. I always had my hands in all the pots, tasting the food my mother was cooking!

What new ingredient or trend do you believe will be the next ‘big thing’?

I don’t really believe in trends. I would have to say it would be ‘going back to basics’ – more and more things are being ‘invented’ and we need to go back to basic tastes and cooking. Focussing on well prepared food is what’s most important. Foods should be about lots of flavour.

 

 

 

Meet Chef Nicolas Houchet

Chef Nicolas Houchet

Originally published in our April newsletter

This month we have the pleasure of introducing Chef Nicolas Houchet; one of our newest Pâtisserie Teaching Chefs. He joined the London team in November 2010. Starting out as an apprentice in patisseries and boulangeries in his home town of Nancy, Chef Nicolas has gone on to work in 5 star hotels, compete in national and international competitions and open an award winning patisserie in London. Read on to learn more about Chef Nicolas and discover his top tips.

 

What is your favourite ingredient?

A great ingredient is vanilla. Most people don’t realise how many varieties there are with different scents and flavours – being able to identify vanilla types through scent is a whole art in itself! A particularly nice variety is an organic pod from the Pollachi district in India – it has a distinctive smoky, cigar flavour.

What inspired you to train as a patisserie chef?

I knew from age 14 that I wanted to do something creative and out of the classroom. When we had to complete a work experience placement at school I grabbed the chance to work at a patisserie and ended up spending my whole Easter holiday working there – it was hard work but I loved it! It was from this point that I decided that this was the path for me.

If you could create a cake or dessert for anyone, who would it be and what would you make?

Whenever anyone has told me who I am making something for, for example royalty or a public figure, I’ve always said the same thing; no matter who I make something for I’ll always put in the same amount of effort and attention to detail. One of my favourite things to make is croquembouche (...) and I love making macaroons.

What are your top tips for aspiring patisserie chefs?

Persevere. The first few months in a working environment are very hard work and it’s important to keep on going at this stage. Also, never forget the basic techniques – it’s nice to want to make complicated sugar work or fancy desserts but the basics are the most important skills to have. Remember the fewer ingredients in a recipe the harder it is to get right.

 

 

   
 
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