What is the name of the restaurant you currently work at, and how long have you been there?
My name is Biju Joshwa and I currently work as an Executive Pastry Chef at the Sheraton Park Lane.
I have been here for 3 years.
Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I have always been inspired by pastry, the science, and the art behind it. I spent the beginning of my career working in the main kitchen but was always intrigued and wanted to explore and learn more. I started my career with Taj Hotels in India, working with a few of their greatest chefs. I then moved to London, working for The Cinnamon Kitchen, Marriott Hotels and now at the Sheraton Grand Park Lane.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
As a pastry chef I can be creative and put my ideas on a plate. I can express and define knowing that the customers will enjoy and remember.
Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Fresh lemons and limes – I love citrus flavours as they take the taste levels to a greater height. Dark Chocolate is easy to make guests happy and the last being Madagascar vanilla.
Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
Robot Cook by Robot Coupe – I just love this as it blends, cooks, purees, pralines, emulsify and the lid is a scraper.
What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Vegan or plant-based foods are on the rise, local and seasonal, probiotic foods, sourdoughs and the love for home baking. The is a lot more jackfruit and CBD on menus.
What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Some chefs nowadays make recipes complicated, add too many flavours and combinations on the plate, which in turn just becomes too much. I always say less is more.
What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Like many chefs, I am inspired by the current seasons. That is where to start to get the freshest and best ingredients. It is hugely important. From there, I have always been naturally drawn to colours and textures so anything from spending time with nature to visiting an art museum will open me up to new ideas.
Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I love to make bonbons, working with chocolate. I made strawberry and cardamom bonbons with 40% milk chocolate Alunga. Another current favourite is my rhubarb panacotta served with yogurt sponge and pink pepper meringue. It is really light, refreshing and a well-balanced dish.
How do you come up with new dishes?
Nature and the environment in which we rely on. When we get comfortable or used to an ingredient, I have to alter my approach and thinking towards a dish.
Who was your greatest influence?
Antonio Bachour, an award-winning American Pastry Chef. His style of presentation is all about colour, freshness and keeping it simple.
Tell us three chefs you admire.
- Simon Jenkins is now a pastry consultant with a Michelin star background. He is a great teacher and an amazing person.
- Daniel Koshy was my first pastry teacher without whom I would not have learned and understood the science behind working with chocolate and pastry. He is currently working as an Executive Chef at the JW Marriott in India.
- Gareth Bowen, Chef Consultant for Carnival Cruises and previously Executive Chef at Shangri-La and Marriott’s London – he has been a great driving force and inspiration for me.
What is your favourite cookbook?
I refer a lot of books for my menus, draw inspiration and ideas from them. Some of the books that I really like are The New Patissiers by Olivier Dupon, Evolution by Jordi Puigvert, Chocolate Ch by Roman Morato. The recent book of Andry Dubovik ‘Pralinarium’ presenting his style of creating bonbons is very unique.
Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
- Janice Wong, Singapore
- Jordi Roca, Spain
- Ernst Knam, Italy
What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Black Bear Burger in London.