5 Minutes With… Xavier Torne
As Adare Manor’s Executive Pastry Chef, Xavier Torne is in charge of our sweetest menus, creating otherworldly desserts to delight guests, especially when it comes to our grand Afternoon Tea experience in The Gallery and delectable Drawing Room cake trolley. Xavier joined Adare Manor after almost two years as the Group Executive Chef of Bea’s of Bloomsbury, a boutique cafe group in London, where he oversaw menu development and operation for five locations offering indulgent Afternoon Teas, sumptuous brunches and magnificent wedding cakes. We caught up with Xavier to learn about when he fell in love with baking, his inspiration for becoming a pastry chef and his most requested recipe.
Take us through a day in the life of a pastry chef in Adare Manor.
Most of the pastry team start early in the morning. We have a brief chat about what’s ahead for the day, including any scheduled events, and we start the preparations. All pastries are made freshly every day by our skilled team. Highlights include our delicious scones, cake trolley pastries, our Afternoon Tea delights and banqueting desserts.
What inspired you to become a professional pastry chef?
My grandmother was my main inspiration – she was really talented! When I was very young, I went to her home every evening and we would bake together from scratch. I learnt a lot from her!
What advice would you give to someone who would like to embark on a career in pastry?
I recommend that anybody interested in becoming a professional pastry chef should take classes to learn the basic skills and develop their knowledge before continuing their training in a restaurant or hotel.
What skill level is needed to be a pastry chef at Adare Manor and how does a person become one?
Generally, all team members recruited by Adare Manor will have a good grounding in pastry having completed a pastry course or attended college. However, on the job training is a vital component in developing skill sets to the standards required at Adare Manor and we are very happy to provide this to all team members.
What are your favourite flavour combinations?
I personally love fruity desserts. I like the freshness and natural sweetness of fruit that’s in season. This is reflected in our menus, which are regularly adapted for seasonal ingredients.
What dessert would you serve to make an impression at a dinner party?
Some sort of chocolate pudding! It’s a people pleaser and you can’t go wrong with anything chocolatey, can you?
What is your favourite pastry to make?
My favourite part of the day is preparing Afternoon Tea. I like to take a fresh and innovative approach and this is when I have the most fun preparing our wonderful teatime creations.
What themed cake trolley is your personal favourite?
Definitely Easter! It’s my favourite time of the year as you can be as ambitious as you want. Nature has re-awakened and is starting to bloom and there are some lovely ingredients and fruits in season to play around with. Easter is a fun and family orientated time. I love creating Easter eggs that put a smile on both children and adults’ faces!
How do you get inspiration for the ever-changing cake trolley?
Inspiration comes from both within my team and from the season we’re in. All the team, from those starting their careers to our experienced pastry chefs are constantly developing new ideas and approaches for our cake trolley. It is wonderful when everybody brings fresh and exciting ideas to the table.
What are your top tips for a novice baker starting out?
The most important thing is to enjoy what you do. Also learn from your colleagues in your team, as they will be able to pass on some great ideas and knowledge from the experience that they have gained throughout their careers.
Can you give us 3 baking tips that you have learned from your years of experience?
- Always weigh your ingredients correctly and remember when baking, every single oven is different, so double-check that it is the correct temperature for yours.
- Don’t over-complicate a dessert. Sometimes the most simple creations are the most delicious.
- Source good quality chocolate – it will always be worth the effort.
What desserts are you planning on adding to the menu coming into summer?
I like to take a different approach to classic desserts and flavours. We are currently working on the summer menu, so you will need to come and try it out!
Do you remember the first recipe you made?
Yes, it was a cupcake… let’s just say that the fire alarm went off in the kitchen! So don’t be afraid when a recipe goes wrong – it happens to everyone.
What is the most exciting part of the baking process for you?
Seeing the outcome after you have developed a new menu is always exciting. Taking the time to develop and try out new recipes and flavour combinations, before finalising on your selections, always pays off.
Finally, could you share one of your most requested recipes with us?
One of our most requested recipes has been for the scones that we serve at Afternoon Tea. I have outlined the ingredients to make your very own batch at home below.
Scones (makes 25 scones)
- 100gr butter
- 165gr sugar
- 35gr baking powder
- 600gr plain flour
- 230gr milk
- 1 large egg
- 150gr raisins
Place the cold butter, sugar, baking powder and flour in the mixer and mix slowly for 15 minutes until you have a fine powder. Add the egg and milk and mix it until combined together.
Divide the dough in 2 halves. Add the raisins to one half.
Roll it down to desired thickness and cut – you can use a knife and do square scones if you don’t have a cutter.
Glaze with an egg wash (3 yolks, 50gr milk) and bake in the oven at 180C for approx. 15 minutes (oven dependant)
I recommend that you serve them freshly baked with cream and lemon curd. Enjoy!
JOIN THE TEAM
Browse our selection of Handmade Chocolates created by Xavier and his team.