Mahshid Jahangiri is pastry Sous Chef in charge of the banqueting section at The Savoy Hotel, catering for up to 1200 guests per day. She completed the Intensive Diplôme de Pâtisserie before joining The Savoy as a commis pastry chef.
Mahshid came to Le Cordon Bleu London after realising she wanted to go from home cook to culinary professional.
“I took the plunge to change career, but I was self-taught, and had only attended a few classes here and there. I wanted to make sure I had the knowledge of core French pâtisserie skills before embarking on my dream of turning this into a professional career. I wanted to gain the best education possible with the best culinary teaching team. For me, world renowned Le Cordon Bleu was the only option.”
Before applying for the Diplôme de Pâtisserie, Mahshid tried the Taste of Le Cordon Bleu - Pâtisserie Workshop, and agrees it helped her make her mind up about applying for the diploma.
“The class was run by Chef Nicolas Houchet. The way the class was taught was just amazing and so engaging. I knew right there and then that I didn’t want to study anywhere else. Le Cordon Bleu gave me the necessary pâtisserie skills and confidence I needed an it was the steppingstone for entering the professional culinary world.”
Mahshid completed the Intensive Diplôme de Pâtisserie, taking the fast track to receive her diploma in just six months. After she graduated, Mahshid went on to join The Savoy Hotel.
“I started as a commis chef working in the pastry section of one of our restaurants and eventually changed departments and moved to the banqueting section. This is where I thrived and had a great sous chef who I learnt a lot from. I practiced and worked very hard whether at work or at home. My efforts didn’t go unnoticed and eventually I worked my way up to my current role as the Pastry Sous Chef in charge of the banqueting section for one of the best-known hotels in the world.”
Although her role is incredibly demanding, Mahshid thoroughly enjoys her job.
“During our busy periods I cater for up to 1200 guests per day during our busy periods. My day starts by attending daily banquet meetings with our Hotel’s events, planning and operations teams to go through the day’s functions, then another meeting with my executive chef and other members of our pastry department to catch up with their mise-en-place duties and jobs for the day. I run through what needs to be done with my own team for the day and upcoming days to make sure everything is executed perfectly. It’s a very demanding role, working long hours, and it can be stressful and challenging at times but it’s very rewarding. Every day is different, and I absolutely love what I do.”
With such a busy schedule, there are bound to be some challenges in the role, and Mahshid must stay on top of everything going on in her department.
“I need to make sure everything runs like clockwork and every little detail is taken care of. Especially when I have 3 or 4 functions starting and ending at the same time. Also catering for our guests with special dietary requirements, which seems to be increasing compared to a few years ago. Meticulous planning and organisation are key for me as I run a large operation, and everything must be spot on.”
Despite the challenges and pressures, Mahshid is very passionate about her role.
“I love everything about my role. From designing the new menu, and seeing your ideas come alive to planning the week’s events, organising functions and plating anything from 50-500 dishes that must look exactly the same and training my team and helping them step up the ladder. I stay inspired by reading a lot of pastry related books, following works of different chefs, practicing at home and whenever the opportunity allows, attending different shows with chefs that I admire. Travelling and experiencing different cultures also inspires me."
What advice would you give someone looking to follow in your footsteps?
I would say just go for it, don’t look back. Bearing in mind working in a professional environment is so different to the kitchens at school, the hours are long and demanding so my advice is to work hard, listen to your chefs, practice every day, ask lots of questions and don’t be disheartened by failures. Failures lead to success if you persevere.
What does Le Cordon Bleu represent for you in one word/sentence?
Excellence and professionalism.
Finally, what are your plans for the future?
I want to keep on learning, working hard and pushing myself. To take part in more competitions (recently I took part in Bake Off: The Professionals with my colleague where we got to the quarterfinals stage and gained a lot from that experience). I hope to be an executive Chef someday.
If you would like to follow in Mahshid's footsteps and dream of working in the culinary industry, why not enrol in our Intensive Diplôme de Pâtisserie
or one of our other culinary courses