Meet Adam Cleal
Meet Adam Cleal, contestant of the UK & Ireland Junior Chocolate Masters and Head Pastry Chef at Palé Hall Hotel, North Wales.
Where did it all start? How did you fall in love with cooking, pastry and chocolate?
I spent 8 years in Spain when I was a child and at the time I was doing lots of baking with my mum. Growing up in such a foodie country is something that stuck with me when I came back to the UK in 2010.
What or who is your greatest source of inspiration?
I had the chance to be part of the team of Michael Caines at Gidleigh Manor and Lympstone Manor Hotel. To be able to work alongside a Michelin Star Chef and previous winner of Chef of the Year for 3 years was a daily source of inspiration. I also had the luck to be in the team of Michelin Chef Michael Wignall at Gidleigh Manor for 6 months and again this experience was priceless.
Also Martin Chiffers who coached me for the Bake Off is such a great source of inspiration and helps me to push myself.
What motivated you to enter the Junior Chocolate Masters competition?
When I was preparing for the Bake Off, my coach Martin Chiffers encouraged me to enter the Junior Chocolate Masters saying that it would be a great opportunity to push my chocolate skills further. Obviously this was before Martin was asked to be a judge at the competition. So I thought, let’s give it a go!
What does the theme “ Thriving Nature” evoke to you?
I imagine forest and wild landscapes, probably inspired by the fact that I live on the edge of Snowdonia National Park and spent some time in Dartmoor when I was younger. I’m also impressed by the ability of nature to bounce back after a disaster or deforestation.
How are you preparing for the competition?
I have been doing a lot of research to look for new ideas. For example by looking into how cocoa grows. I also did lots of tasting especially of chocolate originating from South America. Last September I did a trip to Brazil and experienced the rainforest. It was so different to experience how people live there and brought me inspiration.
The most challenging is to find time outside of work to be able to practice.
Any ambition for the future you'd like to share with us?
I’m really passionate about Afternoon Tea, so to be able to create a signature unique Afternoon tea would be something very special to me.
And obviously on a wider scale I’d love to develop my skills further.