Anna Brooks as been crafting new treats as a Pastry Sous Chef alongside the pastry team since the reopening of Adare Manor in 2017. A graduate of International Culinary Arts at the University of West London, she began her professional career in establishments such as The Savoy and the Shangri La at The Shard in London. A natural creative with a passion for cooking, Anna works alongside the Pastry team who have developed a fan base for their infamous Afternoon Tea, Cake Trolley treats, and amenities. Because of her continuous hard work and dedication in delivering a standard that is Beyond Everything, Anna won ‘Employee of the Month’ in March 2019, so we caught up with her to discuss her time at Adare Manor, and take a look at a typical day in the pastry team.
Can you tell me about yourself and your career so far? When did you join the team at Adare Manor and how has your experience been?
“I am originally from Youghal, Co. Cork. From a very young age I enjoyed cooking and I also enjoyed art. The obvious choice for me was that I could combine the two together and become a pastry chef. Having the ability to be creative every day in my job was important to me. I studied International Culinary Arts at the University of West London. From there I went on to work at some of the top hotels such as The Savoy and Shangri La at the Shard. I enjoyed many years working in London.
“I joined the pre-opening team at Adare Manor back in September 2017. Even though I am Irish I had never worked in Ireland before so when I heard about the reopening I wanted to get involved with such a fantastic new renovated property and hotel. I never really wanted to work in Ireland before. However, Adare Manor caught my attention and I knew I wanted to come home.
“I remember arriving and it was still a building site. There was a great sense of nerviness and excitement at the same time. Everything ahead of us was all unknown. There were lots to do before our first guests arrived. The only thing we did know was that it was going to be beyond everything.
“My experience working here so far is fantastic! I enjoy coming to work each day. There are days when it can be challenging, demanding and extremely busy. However, I feel like this is when we do our best. All departments come together and work as one big team. It is very rewarding to see when our guests are wowed, happy, and looking forward to coming back to visit us.”
Can you describe to me what it is like to work in your department?
“Our pastry team is like a big crazy family from all over the world. We spend a lot of time together. From the outside looking in at our pastry department it looks like a pretty sweet job. We are consistently developing and testing new and inventive recipes and also sampling some of the world’s finest ingredients. We are also very lucky to have all kitchens with state-of-the-art equipment.”
What is a typical day at work for you? What are some tasks you do each day?
“A typical day starts out with breakfast and setting up for afternoon tea. Everything is prepared fresh every day. Then we move on to amenities, in room dining and restaurant desserts. We also prepare for functions and events. Once all the outlets are sorted the focus turns to prep for the afternoon. When the pastry team have finished their day the bakers come in at night and prepare all the bread for the entire hotel and pastries for breakfast. It is important to be organized when juggling so many different things. Planning ahead and being meticulous in organisation helps to keep things in order. That is why I love planning and making lists! Some of the extra tasks in my day would be to attend meetings, ordering, roster, and working together with the other departments. I also work closely with the pastry team and can be as simple as jumping on to help or teaching and sharing knowledge. Sometimes we figure out and learn new things together.”
Are there any standout moments you have experienced since working here?
“A standout moment for me was shortly after opening. It was a sunny May bank holiday and one of our first weddings and hotel buy out. The wedding party was set up outside in the walled gardens. There was a lot of hard work to the run up to the event. However, in the final moments standing in the garden waiting for our guests to arrive at any second I looked around any it was truly spectacular. Seeing it all together, seeing all the effort and hard work everyone put in and looking at all of my colleagues faces lit with excitement with what we had achieved. Everything, down to the last detail was perfect (including the weather). It was then when I truly realized what beyond everything felt like and was proud to be a part of such a fantastic team.”
What do you enjoy most about being a part of the Adare Manor team?
“Being part of the Adare Manor team is enjoyable because everyone shares the same vision and is dedicated to the same mission, making our guests feel at home. There is no greater feeling than knowing that you can help make a difference in something. I enjoy working in a team environment. I have met, learned from, and worked with so many amazing people and made friends for life along the way.”
What is one of your favourite parts of your job?
“One of my favourite parts of my job is being able to be creative. I enjoy coming up with new ideas and bespoke amenities for our guests.”
Is there anything exciting happening or upcoming in your department?
“I feel like every week we have something different or exciting happening in pastry. There are always lots of projects going on. We are always working with the seasons and holidays. Some examples would be photoshoots, showpieces, themed displays, and menu changes.”
What would surprise us about you?
“Something that would surprize you about me is that I lived in Xiamen, China with my family. I did all my secondary education in Xiamen before returning to London for university. Another little fact is that being a chef runs in the family. My grandmother too was a pastry chef in a hotel before going on to open her own Georgian guest house and restaurant with my grandfather.”
Join the Team!
Our team at Adare Manor is continuously growing, including our Pastry Team. To browse our open vacancies, please visit our website here.
About The Gallery
The Gallery at Adare Manor is the perfect marriage of grand scale and exquisite detail. From the soaring arch of the ceilings to the delicate china of the teacups, every aspect of The Gallery experience is steeped in history and graced with beauty. This is a magical setting for an indulgent and unforgettable dining experience; Afternoon Tea at Adare Manor, an elegant tradition which has endured since the days of the Dunravens. Surrounded by magnificent stained glass and ancient wood-carvings and delighted by exceptional tastes and flavours, every moment in The Gallery becomes a memorable occasion. For more information, please visit our website or call our Guest Relations team on 061 605 200.