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paige hill graduate awards finalist
11th September 2023

A spotlight on pastry with Paige Hill

Written by: David Foad
Paige started going to ‘junior chefs’ at the age of 14 at the University of West London on a Saturday. She then joined a junior bake evening, and when she turned 16 got an apprenticeship at The Royal Garden Hotel where she worked for four days and attended the University of West London one day a week. Paige trained on each section as an apprentice and once she graduated, moved onto pastry, working her way from apprentice to first commis.

She entered several competitions whilst at The Royal Garden Hotel and won Apprentice of the Year at the 2019 Craft Guilds of Chefs Awards. In 2020 she moved to the Penton Bridge Inn as a demi chef de partie and worked her way up to chef de partie. She is now the sole pastry chef. Paige is one of our finalists in the Pastry Graduate Award and we chatted to her recently to learn more about her work.

Why did you decide to enter the Graduate Awards? 
I entered the Graduate Awards this year as it’s something I’ve always planned to do, as I have entered many competitions through the Craft Guilds of Chefs. I always want to push myself and see what I can achieve when I’m put to the test. Achieving the award would mean a lot to me because it would improve my confidence and it shows me that my skills and knowledge have improved from when I first entered

What would you most like to achieve as a chef and why? 
As a chef I would most like to achieve 4 AA Rosettes or a Michelin star as a head pastry chef, because I want to be able to produce the best products I can and help the younger generation to improve their skills and knowledge.

How did you find the mentor trip you went on in July?
I found the mentor trip very useful as it provided a lot of new useful information, not just for the competition but information which can be used in general work, like seeing and understanding the process of chocolate from bean to bar. It was also nice to be able to get to know some of the suppliers and the other competitors.

What advice would you give to a young chef who is considering entering the Graduate Award?
My advice for a young chef who is considering entering would be to just do it. You never know what you are capable of until you try. I would also say to write everything down, ask many questions, pay attention to detail and practice as much as you can with your mentor, and get as much constructive feedback as you can. This will help you improve your skills and knowledge to help you achieve this accolade.

What do you love most about being a chef and why?
What I love most about being a chef is experimenting with many different flavours and ingredients. I also love the creativity and the freedom to explore because you are always learning something new whether it’s how to fix something or making a new recipe, I also love creating dishes that people enjoy and how it reminds them of a happy memory.

What’s your favourite type of food to cook?
My favourite thing to make would either be cake or ice cream because there are so many different flavours, textures, and varieties to try as well as having fond memories of baking when I was little with my mum. Now I have the skills to improve and adapt those recipes to be used in a professional workplace.

Tell us about the best meal you’ve ever eaten.
The best meal I have ever eaten was at Pine. The flavours were amazing, each component on the dishes complemented each other very well. Every dish seems to have been thought out to the finest detail. I also loved that they grow their own vegetables and ferment their own products which opened my eyes to serving things like that in pastry.

Which chefs do you look up to in the hospitality industry and why?
I look up to Cedric Grolet, Amaury Guichon, Julien Dugourd and Antonio Bachour because they are all very different chefs and produce amazing products. This makes me push myself as they inspire me to use new ingredients.