Chef: Paul Hayward
Position: Pastry Consultant, Ph by Design. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
How did you get started?
I wanted to be a chef after realizing how food could make people so happy and be deeply embedded into our memories. Some of my earliest memories are cooking with my mom and grandmother.
I come from a normal family, not rich and not poor. Every one of my relatives are in the building trade and grew up where they were born, generation after generation. I wanted more, I wanted to travel, I wanted to experience the world and different cultures. I wanted to do all the things that I watched on the TV and go to these places.
At the age of 12 or 13, we had to meet with a careers officer at high school and tell him what we wanted to do. This took many attempts as he insisted that being a chef was a bad idea because he insisted that chefs have no life, work long hours, lose all their friends, work unsociable hours and don’t make good money unless they get really good. He arranged for me and my parents to attend an open evening for a training company and I was sold instantly on cruise ships, luxury hotels and resorts, speed boats and fancy cars.
What was your first position?
I started straight out of school at the age of 16 working at a small restaurant called “The Renaissance” which was the best place in my home town and served classical French food. The chefs were good, but with old school mentalities - they’d torture the young chefs verbally, mentally, and sometimes physically. But I blocked it all out as I was learning. This was all I cared about, even though I was working loads of hours and earning peanuts. Everyone I knew thought I was crazy to do this.
The story behind the dish:
This is one of my favorite desserts to prepare, cook and eat. It was the classic dessert served in every great restaurant in London back in the 90’s, “Baked Lemon Tart”. There was an unofficial competition of who could make the best. Although the recipes were basically the same, the preparation and person making it made or failed the recipe. The texture of the tart should be a little crisp, while the citrus custard inside needs to be creamy so that once sliced, it barely stands up. If slightly overcooked, it cracks all over and becomes more like a cheesecake. The recipe has a very detailed method, so if you follow it carefully, you will be amazed.
Baked Lemon Tart
What you need:
Electric mixer or mixing spoon
Pre-baked tart shells
360 grams whole eggs
200 grams caster sugar
170 grams lemon juice
270 grams 35% whipping cream
2 each fresh lemon zest
Mix eggs and sugar together
Add lemon juice, cream and lemon zest
Leave to rest and infuse overnight in chiller
Pass through a fine strainer
Fill pre-baked tart shells using confectionary funnel
Bake at 120C in convection oven until slightly wobbly in center
Remove from oven and remove carefully off the hot tray and leave to cool at room temperature for 2 hours before cutting
I was not born a pastry chef, but I'm now trying to make the world “sweeter” one day at a time
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Story on the Pass