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              Meet Javier Mercado Pâtisserie Master Chef

              Pastry Chef Javier Mercado - Le Cordon Bleu London

              Chef Javier was born in Puerto Rico, and grew up in the USA, with his passion for food inherited from family. His artistic strengths saw Chef Javier pursue pâtisserie. He completed a Pastry Arts degree at Johnson & Wales University and subsequently worked all over the USA including stops in Colorado, Arizona, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In October 2000, Chef Javier joined The Ritz Carlton in Virginia where he led a team of 12 with responsibility for functions of up to 1000 people.

              He has competed succesfully in many culinary competitions in England, France, and the USA. He received The Competition Chef award by the Craft Guild of Chefs for his pastry work, and for mentoring students. In 2011 and 2013, Chef Javier captained the Great British Team at the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie (the most prestigious pastry competition in the world) and most recently in 2015 the UK team were placed 6th in the world at this competition.

              Chef Javier has many years experience of teaching pâtisserie in the UK, having worked for eight years as a chef tutor before joining Le Cordon Bleu's team of Pâtisserie Teaching Chefs in 2012.

               

              What made you want to be a chef?
              I’ve always loved pastry and I’m privileged to say that I have now been teaching for ten and a half years.

              What are you most passionate about in the food world?
              I have to say the arts in general, being creative and artistic as well as creating showpieces using modern and groundbreaking techniques.

              Why is Le Cordon Bleu so unique to you?
              I always strive to be around people with the highest standards, so Le Cordon Bleu was the obvious choice. It has a prestigious name and I’m proud to work with the other chefs here. We share the same mentality and are committed to reaching the same goal.

              What is your earliest food memory?
              My Grandmother making a Spanish flan, which is very similar to a crème caramel. It’s very sweet in flavour and has all the lovely parts of a dessert in one - the sauce and the creamy custard.


              I always strive to be around people with the highest standards

              Who are your food heroes?
              I don’t have food heroes as such, but I do have artistic influences like Stéphane Klein. He really revolutionised the meaning of being artistic. He created means of creativity through dreams, almost time warps in various dimensions.

              Ewald Notter is another, and to be honest without him I wouldn’t have started on the artistic side. He completely captivated me, he is a world champion but is so humble, he can talk to anyone, he is approachable and will share anything with you, and that’s the kind of people I like to be around.

              Three words that fulfil what you need to succeed in the culinary world
              Motivation, vision (to gain your goal), and repetition (to practise).

              What is your favourite ingredient?
              Isomalt, which is a sugar substitute, the beauty of it is that it will not caramelize when heat is applied to it like sugar, making it a very good medium to create great design elements.

              What is it like to compete at Coupe de Monde?
              If I’m honest, it’s stressful, but extremely exciting. It’s at the pinnacle of pastry competitions. Everyone who competes there are being challenged to their limit within their own country to showcase their work to the world. It shows the extremes of what’s possible in both artistic design and taste.

              It’s like working two full time jobs and it takes a special person, and one who is crazy enough to push themselves to extremes, physically and mentally. But in the end it’s worth it. I’ve done it three times and I never dreamed of even doing it once, but I have the inner drive to push myself to the limits. It wasn’t easy and there were many obstacles along the way, but I think overall it’s helped me to become a better chef and person.

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