Nathania is Head Pastry Chef at Manor House Lindley, having worked at The Ritz in London for over nine years. In this post Nathania discusses what really gets her passionate when it comes to baking and how she came to fall in love with this career.
Q: Where did you go to school?
I originally studied for a BTEC in Hospitality at college in Doncaster. Through working hard and gaining all top grades, I secured a work placement at The Ritz and was then offered the job after the placement due to the progress I had made. I stayed there for nine years and trained on the job with top chefs before coming to Manor House Lindley.
Q: What was your first cooking experience?
It is extremely stereotypical, but I used to always bake with my Grandma when I was younger. Apart from this, I specifically remember a themed event that was part of my college BTEC where we had to plan, organise and execute an event. This includes the front of house responsibilities and kitchen responsibilities and also meant selling tickets. I chose to do a retro theme that included things like chicken in a basket and black forest gateaux and thoroughly enjoyed the experience!
Q: When did you realize you wanted to become a chef?
When I first started at The Ritz, I thought that I wanted to be front of house as a restaurant manager, but when I began to make pastry I realised that this was definitely what I wanted to do. I felt a lot of pride in seeing the finished pieces go out and realised that this was what I was passionate about.
Q: What kinds of foods do you cook at Manor House Lindley?
Pastries! I take care of the Afternoon Teas, desserts and also have a big input in the savoury part of the Afternoon Teas as well. I also have a hand in the bread that is made at Manor House, the brioche and the banqueting desserts for events and weddings.
Q: What is your favourite part of the job at Manor House?
Being able to think of something in my head and then make it into an actual product - imagination is such a big part of it. It can also be frustrating when you can’t create it, but it feels very satisfying when you finally do and that is rewarding. I love that I am still learning every day, even though I already have skills and knowledge there’s always something new to learn. There is constant improvement of self and products. Teaching others is also very important to me.
Q: What is your favourite thing to make?
The chocolate work and macaroons. I love making macaroons!
Q: If you go out to eat, what do you order?
I don’t eat desserts which is ironic! I am much more of a savoury person. I would rather have a steak rather than a dessert. If I am going somewhere to try different desserts, I will go for what looks like the most “out there” option.
Q: If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
I would still be in hospitality, but I would be front of house such as restaurant manager or sommelier.