With Channel 4’s Great British Bake Off: The Professionals in full swing, Nick Mosley talk’s to Brighton’s master pâtisserie chef Julien Plumart.
What is your professional background?
I grew up in my parents restaurant in the French countryside in the Alps.
I started pastry school when I was 15 then did a specialisation for chocolate and confectionary followed by a master degree at the High National Pastry School of Yssingeaux.
How long have you been working in Brighton and why did you decide to locate here?
I arrived in Brighton from France in June 2004. A recruitment agency contacted me to join the team as head pastry chef at Havana Restaurant on Duke Street. I opened my first shop at 48 Queens Road in May 2008 and the rest is history.
Tell us about your food?
We stand for unique French pâtisserie. I select the best ingredient and use my 25 years of experience to create food that brings happiness and true enjoyment into our customer’s lives. Our offering ranges from award-winning sourdough pastries to a large selection of macarons, alongside tarts, eclairs and celebrations cakes. As our customers can sit in we also have a brunch menu and a very tasty afternoon tea.
How did you come about to be on Great British Bake Off: The Professionals?
This is my second appearance on the show as I featured in the first series of The Professionals around five years ago. Every year the producers call me back but you need to have the time to do it and the right team mate to do it properly. So when they called me in September last year ,I thought “this is the right time, let’s do this”. Featuring on the show is the cherry on the cake for my team and I after years of hard work in our shop.
TV programmes are intense to film. What has your experience been like?
It’s been a great experience filming. You don’t realise how sleek and organised a TV crew works until you see it. Some days were quite long but you also spend some time just waiting around too. I have to say that the production team are the best in the business so as a chef you have the space to perform your art at the highest level – and that is what the viewer want to see.
Are there any fellow contestants that you particularly admire?
I really like Kevin and Maria Victoria from the Lanesborough Hotel in London. He always comes up with crazy ideas!
What are your plans for the future?
We are improving our logistics and ensuring that our high standard remains as we are very very busy since Bake Off started airing. We’ll carry on pushing for perfection and creating new pâtisserie every weekend. I am also going to do some consulting work for restaurants and hotels with professional training. It’s really hard to find great pastry chef these days but you can train a good chef easily. I’m also keen to do some training sessions in catering schools too. We must inspire the new generation and pass on our knowledge.
Where else in Brighton do you enjoy eating and drinking?
I like my early brunch at Lucky Beach or the roast at Petit Pois. Otherwise we are pretty well set up at home for cooking and drinking. Our garden parties are quite something!
What is your personal favourite sweet treat and why?
This is the million pound question! I would say a warm apple tart tatin with rum custard and vanilla ice cream, just because it’s delicious and so simple.
Watch Julien on Channel 4’s Great British Bake Off on Tuesday 6 July at 8pm. Julien’s store and café can be found at 48 Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XB. http://www.julienplumart.com