Hideko Kawa’s Christmas and Christmas pop-up

Hideko Kawa moved from Japan to London to learn and gain new experiences. Trained at Le Cordon Bleu she first gained her working experiences as a pastry chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Restaurant. After six years of work with Gordon, she has moved to Helene Darroze at The Connaught, followed by very valuable years of work as head pastry chef of Heston Blumenthal’s empire. She is talking to us about her Christmas and presenting her first pop-up where you can see and buy her fantastic sweet creations.

Christmas is just around the corner. How do you like to celebrate Christmas? Do you have any special family tradition?

Christmas Cake and Chicken on Christmas Eve!!  Not quite the ‘full English’ but still a celebration.

Christmas is not a traditional holiday in Japan, but it is celebrated anyway. How did you celebrate it there? What is the main difference between the Japanese and British Christmas?

Christmas is a relatively recent cultural import into Japan.  Although it does not have the religious connotations of Christmas in Britain we still celebrate it.  There is certainly a commercial side with beautiful illuminations in the cities but the day itself is more of a time for couples to be together as opposed to a full family celebration.

What is the traditional dessert served in Japan for Christmas and what is your favourite dessert for this holiday?

The most popular Christmas desert in Japan is a whole Strawberry short cake topped with Christmas decorations along with candles.  I love chocolate Yule log made using100% cocoa pate.   

What is your favourite sweet delight that you serve for Christmas at home?

Chocolate surprise ornaments hanging on the tree. Christmas ornaments filled with chocolates, truffles, macaron... etc.  You just have to make sure they are not too low down otherwise the dog will eat them!!

For Londoners this Christmas you have prepared a very special pop-up in Kensington in West London. Finally a place where people can see, try and buy your creations. What can be found there?

My signature chocolate cigars, edible pictures, Christmas tree ornaments, gold award chocolate and preserves, my selected macarons and cakes…etc. are beautifully wrapped and packaged for decadent unique and delicious gifts. Chocolate wreath with salted caramel truffles and matcha chocolate holly leaves is a great indulge for Christmas table. Japanese style very light fresh Christmas cakes are available on pre-order.  In the deliciously artful room, “Make your own chocolate painting with picture frame” and “Make your chocolate Christmas ornament” workshops are on offer as well as some of the tools of my trade including a range of the finest quality Japanese cooking knives.

And what is the absolute must at your pop-up in Kensington?

This is my first Christmas pop up so everything is new, experimental and exciting.  Being on Kensington Church street one of London’s most famous streets for antiques and art, I have tried to combine the flavour of both in my shop offering tasty treats and workshop for anybody: from kids to serious chocolate lovers. The first thing you will see as you walk past is a full size ornate framed picture…made entirely of chocolate, from the 'gold antique' frame to the picture itself edible.  Inside there is a wonderful array of unique creations; sumptuous, decadent, artful treats.  Come inside, enjoy a complementally body-warming glass of delicious hot chocolate infused with citruses and delight in the combination of chocolate stocking fillers.

Looking now at the year behind you, what are you most proud of? 

I continue to love designing bespoke cakes and treats as well as offering a bespoke chef's service to my loyal customers who have given me so much support and encouragement. I remain very proud of the various awards that I have been given over the years, for both my chocolates and my preserves and I relish the ongoing challenge of making different and innovative delicacies.  This year I have been experimenting with all of these ideas and concepts, putting them into the proverbial melting pot.  I think I can say that 2017 has been a case of fine-tuning my creative license for 2018.

And what about your plans for the next year?

My pop up is really a looking window into where I might like to go next year.  I am full of ideas, but I still have not chosen my signature dish to offer to the world!!