Chef of the Week: Sarah Barber, Executive Pastry Chef, Hotel Cafe Royal, London

How long have you worked at Hotel Cafe Royal?
Two years and three months.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion for cooking came from my grandfather as he was a chef. I learned my craft through various establishments, from 5-star luxury hotels and patisserie shops to Michelin star restaurants.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
How creative you can be and that you never stop learning new skills or techniques.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Valrhona Tanariva milk chocolate, raspberries, yuzu.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
A sugar probe.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
There is a big trend for vegan food in London at the moment.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Not thinking before completing the action.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why? 
Christmas because it’s full of all of my favourite flavours.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
It’s hard to say a specific one but definitely a dish that a junior member of my team has created. It makes them feel that they have accomplished something great and it also means they are learning and feeling inspired.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Bouncing ideas, seasons and flavours within my pastry team.

Who was your greatest influence? 
My grandfather.

Tell us three chefs you admire
Philippe Conticini, Amaury Guichon and Cedric Grolet.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Any book by Stephane Leroux.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
The London food scene changes so rapidly, and there are so many good chefs out there, that you can’t name a specific one.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Anne Sophie Pic at Trinity Square.