Sarah Barber at The Dorchester
Tell us about your passion for pastry
My grandfather was a professional chef and as a child I spent many memorable weekends cooking with him. We would often bake together and his skill and creativity really inspired me. He sadly passed away when I was in my final year at college but the memories live on and I have dedicated my whole career to him.
Why did you choose The Dorchester?
I’m thrilled to be working at The Dorchester, for me it’s a wonderful place to showcase my creativity. Being born in London, I’m particularly proud to work at such an iconic London hotel and my team is amazing.
How would you describe your signature style?
I like to describe my style as modern patisserie, using classic flavours in a refined feminine style. A great example of this is my ‘jaffa’ cake bar, where I took inspirational flavours from my childhood and turned them into something with a far more modern twist.
What inspires your creations?
I’m always looking to push new boundaries of technical skills and create things that taste as good as they look. I never choose style over substance. I like to keep an eye on television programmes like The Great British Bake Off, MasterChef and Bake Off: the Professionals. These popular programmes have really put the art of patisserie in the spotlight and help spark ideas.
What’s your favourite dessert?
I’m a big fan of anything chocolate; it’s a real weakness for me. I also love elaborate chocolate sculptures, in fact anything to do with chocolate! People find it amusing that I never eat sweet things at home, that’s because I taste sweet items throughout my working day.
What’s the one piece of equipment you wouldn’t be without?
That would have to be my beloved Thermomix. It weighs, cooks and blends brilliantly, which saves so much time and allows me to devote more of my time to developing exciting new recipes.
Do you have any advice for budding pastry chefs?
Yes, I’m passionate about training and helping others to learn new skills. I think it’s really important to master all the basics of patisserie first. Once you’ve mastered the skills you can really begin to experiment with your own unique creations. I still always make an effort to push myself as you can never stop learning with this job.