Ten Minutes with Adrian Barry, executive pastry chef at the St Pancras Renaissance hotel
The St Pancras Renaissance hotel is a very unusual and impressive building. A stunning fairytale architecture situated right on the international train station is a point of arrivals and departures for many different people. It is a very vivid meeting point, a place of constant movement and change captured in a building of Victorian splendor with contemporary style and service. Adrian Barry is here with his team pampering the guests with the sweet delights.
How would you introduce yourself?
I am Adrian Barry and I grew up in a small country town in Australia called Ouyen. I gained an interest into pastry and cooking from my mum and worked for 5 years in Melbourne doing my apprenticeship in pastry and bakery before moving to London in 2002. I love the buzz of the hospitality world. There is always something happening, trends change, menu changes …
How did you enter into the pastry world?
From as early as I can remember I had a very sweet tooth. My mum didn’t make as many desserts as I would have liked so I decided to make them myself at home from the age of 10, especially Pavlova – trying to get it perfect with no cracks, not understanding why you would put vinegar in Pavlova … vinegar bleh. I did my apprenticeship at The Sofitel in Melbourne, going on to open “Vue de Monde” with Shannon Bennett. In 2002 I moved to London and straight into 2 Michelin star kitchen of John Burton Race for 2 years and then another 2 years at “The Dorchester”. I went on to open corporate investment bank Nomura on London Bridge and have been at St Pancras since 2012.
What is your secret desire/ambition?
To continue travelling the word experiencing different cultures, different people and continue learning.
What is your greatest achievement?
Being fortunate enough to represent Australia at the Culinary Olympics in 2000 and winning a medal, this was also my first experience of competing in another country. It was an experience I will remember forever.
Chocolate mousse and orange. Photo: Laura Lajh Prijatelj
What/who is inspiring you?
Seeing other members of the team bring forward their ideas and watching them grow, learn and get a buzz out of it. As you progress through your career I have found it very rewarding to be able to pass on knowledge and skills that I was shown back in my apprentice days.
What do you love most about your work?
It continues to change, nothing stays the same – always new things to learn and different ways to do things.
What do you think is most difficult to master?
I think it’s important to have solid base skills and to choose which direction to go from there. For me my love of chocolate was very early. I started to think already as a child how cool it would be to have a job related to chocolate.
What are your favourite flavours?
I love strong flavours that really grab your attention and make you go “wow”.
What is your relationship to chocolate?
I love it, chocolate is always in fashion no matter how flavours or trends change. So many ways to use it and it’s unbelievably versatile, I can remember the first time I saw someone spray a dessert with the spray gun – I was so fascinated I still get a kick when spraying chocolate items.
Which chocolate desserts are are on your menu now and which are your favourites?
Our new Afternoon tea menu has just been launched using many of the Cacao Barry products. Personally I love the Lychee & Madirofolo chocolate piece, all the flavours working together so nicely.
The afternoon tea.
What was the best chocolate dessert that you have eaten and where?
Dark chocolate fondant with Green tea ice cream, the combination of the two flavours is incredible. It was at Taman gang; shortly after I proposed to my wife ;)
What would be your final message for our readers?
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, it’s the best way to learn.
Enjoy the delicious desserts created by Adrian Barry at http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/lonpr-st-pancras-renaissance-londo...