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Guest Chef Demonstration with Richard Hawke


    Le Cordon Bleu London were joined by pastry chef, Richard Hawke, for a pâtisserie demonstration featuring the use of non-traditional ingredients, in partnership with Weiss Chocolate and Ritter Courivaud.

    Chef Richard moved to France from Sydney after deciding he wanted to pursue his dream of learning from the best pastry chefs in the world. After working in various pâtisseries in Lyon and spending five years teaching pâtisserie technique at Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Pâtisserie, Richard accepted a position as Head chef for Rose Léon Pâtisserie in Casablanca, which specialised in gluten-free, nut-free and lactose-free products. This move gave Richard the opportunity to experiment, trying new techniques and ingredients as well as reducing fat and sugar content whilst maximising flavour.

    His innovative approach to creating gluten and dairy free pâtisserie was the focus for the demonstration. Guests were enthusiastic to find out more about the vegan and gluten free ingredients Chef Richard. He sources ingredients which offer the same textures and flavours as traditional desserts, so that gluten or lactose intolerant people can still enjoy good quality pâtisserie.

    To start, Chef Richard created a lactose-free, water-based Praliné. To replace the traditional dairy ingredients, Richard used a combination of water, gelatine, natur emul and locust bean gum. This creates the right viscosity without the need for cream, meaning it can be piped into peaks as normal. Guests had the opportunity to taste the Praliné, along with a variety of Weiss chocolate, including samples of smokey dairy-free dark chocolate and crunchy praline.

    His next demonstration was the Oryola Tart, using Weiss’ Couverture Oryola 30% - a creamy white chocolate with hazelnuts. As this was a gluten-free recipe, Chef Richard used brown rice flour to create the almond shortbread base, in place of wheat flour, explaining that the main difference is in the texture of the pastry. Some types of rice have a larger grain, so even once milled into flour it can end up resulting in a grainy texture. The final demonstration was a gluten-free Sesame Lemon Green Tea Choux, again using rice flour in place of wheat for the choux pastry.

    Following a fascinating demonstration, guests were predictably full of questions for Chef Richard about gluten and dairy free pâtisserie, and he was happy to enlighten them. Guests ultimately took away the message that with solid traditional methods, a little creativity and experimentation with ingredients, one can create delicious, impressive pâtisserie which accommodates those who have a restricted diet.

    To see more upcoming guest chef events like this please visit our culinary conferences and demonstrations page. If you want to learn techniques like those demonstrated by Chef Richard Hawke take a look at our programmes and courses and start your culinary journey today.

    Chef Richard Hawke

    Richard Hawke is a consultant pastry chef who specializes in developing products which are accessible for people with special dietary needs such as coeliac disease, so they may enjoy the same pastry experience as others. Originally undertaking a pastry apprenticeship in Sydney, he moved to France to learn more. After working in various pastry shops, Richard taught pastry in Yssingeaux for five years before moving to Casablanca, Morocco to open a pastry shop. Today he is furthering his research into lactose-free and vegan/gluten-free pastry.