We recently welcomed legendary baker, Paul Rhodes, into our state-of-the-art kitchens, to give a bakery demonstration to some very lucky guests.
Paul Rhodes started his career by training as a chef in Devon, before moving to London and securing a position under the prestigious chef, Pierre Koffmann. By the age of just 24, Paul had become head chef at the two Michelin-starred Chez Nico, and went on to secure a third star for Nico Ladenis within a year. But after a decade of working in some of London’s top kitchens, Paul decided to follow his passion for baking and opened his own bakery in 2003.
The turnout for the bakery demonstration at our school was amazing with just under 100 people in attendance to see the owner of Paul Rhodes Bakery - one of the best in London, in action. And the bakery theme was definitely in keeping with the launch of our brand new Diplôme de Boulangerie, which was developed by our Master Chefs and Master Baker Dominique Moudart. Dominique previously worked with Paul Rhodes, before joining the teaching staff here at Le Cordon Bleu London, and he also lent Paul a helping hand on the night of the demo.
Paul made a range of focaccia breads for the demonstration, which is a flat, Italian bread soaked in olive oil. The different focaccias were topped with a mixture of olives, tomatoes, cheese and red onions, but the bread can be topped with any variety of herbs and ingredients, depending on your preference. Paul also made his bakery’s signature soda bread, which seemed to go down well with the audience, as there was none left in the basket at the end of the evening!
With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Paul was more than happy to share his top tips for making the perfect soda bread, with the audience. He revealed that it is the lactic acid in the soda bread that makes it rise, so it is best not to knead the dough too much, as you will overwork the gluten and the bread won’t develop. And of course the audience were frantically taking down notes every time Paul uttered one of his golden pieces of baking advice.
When Paul was questioned about his thoughts on our new Boulangerie Diploma, he replied, “The diploma is great and the industry definitely needs it!” Paul then went on to talk about the lack of old school bakers at present, and how the programme will really help to train the younger chefs that are coming up, and entering the industry. Paul also said that the diploma will be a real benefit to businesses like his own, “With my relationship with the school here, hopefully we will get some trained bakers that will want to come and work with me as well.”
The evening was a real success and Paul Rhodes proved to be very popular, which was evident in the vast amount of people that registered for the event. His popularity is definitely well deserved, as Paul demonstrated how passionate he is about his craft, and how willing he is to share his extensive knowledge. So we would like to thank Paul for an inspirational evening and for giving our guests an insight into the beautiful art of baking!
Don't forget to check out and a book a place on our other upcoming guest chef events.