Benoit Blin, French chef patissier at Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons ‒ and one of a trio of high-profile judges on the new eight-episode show – said that the programme would encourage new pastry chefs to come forward, and promote the skills of existing chefs.
Speaking to BigHospitality, Blin said: “If we have even a small amount of success that the Bake Off had, it's very likely that we will see more and more interest in the skills of the patisserie world. It might encourage pastry chefs, who might otherwise be hidden away in the kitchen, to push themselves further and to raise the bar.”
The programme, which sees teams of three professional pastry chefs compete to create desserts and high-end cakes, would also demonstrate the importance of teamwork, and show “adventure on a human scale”, he explained. “It's going to be exciting to watch - the human side to the pastry world. Three candidates per team pushing the boundaries of their own ability.”
“You can't hide anywhere in pastry,” he said. “You have to follow recipes and techniques to produce the right result. It is only achieved by attentive learning and preparation. If you change something by a few grams or degrees, you can get it completely wrong.”
He also commented that the show’s presenter, two-Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, had been as enthusiastic as a “little kid” during filming, and had been fascinated by the precision demanded by the pastry chefs.
Blin said: “Chefs don't always understand why pastry chefs are so precise and particular, but I think he has been transformed by getting to meet so many pastry chefs. And I think that this show has highlighted that difference - the scientific element of pastry. To be on such a trusted channel as the BBC can only really help the industry. ”
Bake Off: Crème de la Crème is set to begin this evening, and is a high-end professional spin off to the wildly popular Great British Bake Off, presented by Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, and judged by TV cook Mary Berry and baker Paul Hollywood.
Its other judges are Cherish Finden, executive pastry chef at the Langham hotel; and Claire Clark, pastry chef and pastry consultant to supermarkets, restaurants and hotels across the country.