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Pastry Chefs I Admire: Influences and Inspirations

Welcome to the Brownie Things culinary blog, where I,

Luke Goold, head of food and co-founder of Brownie Things, would like to take you on a delightful journey through my passion for pastry. From lard-filled pies of my childhood to French countryside meringues and gourmet classics, I'll guide you through the flavours and memories that shaped my culinary world.

Humble Beginnings

In the beginning, my experience with pastry was not glamorous. I remember the short pastry made of lard, butter, and flour. It was simple and often gross, but it ignited my curiosity. From pie-making to crumble, the simplicity had a certain appeal that I couldn't resist.

French Inspiration

My culinary world changed during my time in France, working in my aunt Monica's restaurant. We would pick lush blackberries, figs, and peaches from the foothills of the mountains, turning them into exquisite desserts like semi-stiff meringues with gooey centres. Trading chicken carcasses for fresh eggs and crafting lemon tarts became part of my daily life. This connection with the land and the authenticity of the flavours taught me the real beauty of food.

Guiding Influences

The River Cafe Cookbook by Rose Grey and Ruth Rogers, along with Michelin-star chefs like Nico Ladenis, introduced me to rustic Italian desserts and the world of sweet crust pastry. Their honest, simple approach to ingredients led me down a path of exploration, eventually co-founding Brownie Things. Classics from the Harrods Book of Sweets and Edible Treats, Mrs. Beaton's Book of Recipes, and influences from chefs like James Martin have inspired me to work on my unique twists.

Honesty and Authenticity

A core belief that has stayed with me is the honesty in the culinary work of greats like Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. It's about deriving the flavours directly from the ingredients and respecting them. Whether it's making a coulis with freshly picked blackberries or understanding the actual flavour of exotic ingredients like matcha tea, it's all about honouring the essence of the food.

Navigating Trends and Classics

Chefs who understand their surroundings and work with seasonal, local ingredients inspire me the most. While some chefs merely copy the pioneers, the real magic lies in those who innovate. For example, instead of just replicating a pistachio recipe, it's about exploring complementary flavours and inventing something beautiful. This creativity makes cooking an art form, a synchronous dance of flavours, smells, colours, and textures.

Reflections on Cookery Programmes

Growing up, TV cookery shows were a significant source of inspiration. Keith Floyd's adventurous style, the perplexing world of wine pairing, and inspiring chefs like Tom Kerridge provided both entertainment and valuable lessons. These experiences have helped shape my culinary philosophy and my approach to innovation and authenticity in the kitchen.

Culinary Legacy

In the end, cooking isn't about duplication but exploration and innovation. It's about respecting the past while looking forward to new possibilities. From the blackberries of France to the simplicity of brownies, it's the connection with the land, tradition, and authenticity that matters.

Conclusion: The Essence of Brownie Things

My journey from lard-filled pies to the co-founding of Brownie Things has been filled with lessons, flavours, and passions. It's a story of growth, exploration, and love for the culinary art that continues to inspire me every day.

So join me at Brownie Things, where we embrace these values and create pastries and desserts that honour the ingredients and the love that goes into them. We believe in honest, beautiful, and effective culinary creations that will delight your taste buds and take you on a journey through the rich tapestry of culinary tradition and innovation. Whether it's our signature brownies or a new seasonal treat, you'll taste the love in every bite.

Bon Appétit!

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