Afternoon tea back in vogue at Jesmond Dene House Hotel
Oct 9 2009 by Katharine Everitt, The Journal
Old-fashioned afternoon tea is back in vogue, and Jesmond Dene House Hotel has turned it into something of an event. Katharine Capocci spends a morning with the pastry team.
FOR someone with a sweet tooth, working alongside a head pastry chef for the morning is sweetness itself.
Especially when it involves putting together a calorie-laden afternoon tea, and afterwards sitting down to savour the fruits of my kitchen endeavours.
Featuring a tempting array of scones, carrot cakes, macaroons, éclairs, and chocolate fondant cakes, high tea is all in a morning’s work for the pastry team at Jesmond Dene House Hotel in Newcastle.
And let’s not forget the sandwiches, which, naturally, have the crusts cut off. Not being pastry, however, means they are made in a different part of the kitchen.
Afternoon tea is in addition to all the breads, desserts, celebration cakes and sweet things the pastry team are responsible for.
Another big plus to working in pastry is the heavenly smells of baking bread emanating from the toasty corner of our kitchen.
In the ovens are scores of focaccia, rye and white bread buns as well as crusty white loaves – all rising beautifully – and the yeasty aromas are really quite distracting.
“We work on anything sweet here – pastries, desserts, afternoon teas, breads, petit fours, celebration cakes, biscuits and ice-creams,” explains Kristian Branch, 32, head pastry chef, who has worked at the hotel for the last 18 months.
“It’s physically and mentally demanding,” says Kristian, who is part of a team of five in pastry. He is on his feet all day long, scurrying from one task to another, icing cakes, rolling out scone dough, checking the ovens, and coordinating all, seemingly effortlessly.