Diplôme de Pâtisserie graduate Helen Clark has experience working in restaurant heavyweights The Ivy, Michelin-starred La Trompette and more recently P. F. Chang’s Asian Table, where she is Head Pastry Chef.
Helen has been interested in patisserie from an early age, dividing her time between baking and her other passion: speed skating. Wanting to work in what she had always loved doing, Helen worked with a wholesaler of desserts and after also pursuing a career in speed skating, Helen decided to take the leap and take her culinary skillset to the next level and apply for Le Cordon Bleu London.
“I decided to come to London and study pâtisserie at Le Cordon Bleu because it is one of the best in the world, with the best chefs and teachers available.
Le Cordon Bleu London’s Diplôme de Pâtisserie helped me develop a solid base to work from and taught me how to identify that if things go wrong then why have they gone wrong.”
With Le Cordon Bleu listed on her CV, doors opened for Helen and she has gone on to work in some of the best establishments in London, each of which have provided her with invaluable experience.
“Working in some of the best establishments London has to offer has helped me gain the knowledge I need especially on how service works in practice and the speed and level of service required.”
Helen has achieved a lot in her time and is still very much at the early stages of her career having graduated Le Cordon Bleu in 2015.
“One of my biggest challenges is being a head pastry chef at such a young age, as it can be harder to get people to take you seriously, but as soon as they see Le Cordon Bleu on your CV and you talk to them, they realise you know what you are doing. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to get the culinary qualification, as without it I wouldn’t have got to where I am today.”
Now Head of Pastry for P. F. Chang’s Asian Table, the UK’s first of the popular American chain located near London’s busy Leicester Square, Helen was honoured to be selected to launch its ‘Pastry Lab’, describing it as her greatest achievement to date.
“My greatest achievement is being chosen to open the UK’s first ever P. F. Chang’s as head of the pastry department. My usual day involves prep in the morning followed by service and menu creation in the evenings, ensuring a smooth running of the section daily.”
Describing Le Cordon Bleu “knowledge”, Helen is hoping to one day impart some of that knowledge as well as apply her experience working in high-end kitchens to her own restaurant or pastry bar. Her advice to those pursuing the same dream: “Go to Le Cordon Bleu and commit everything to it in order to get your return.”
You can find out more information regarding our Diplôme de Pâtisserie in our programmes section.