Claire Clark New Zealand Master Class
I was fortunate enough and very excited to nab one of the last tickets to see Claire Clark at the New Zealand Hospitality Trade Show at the end of August. It’s not very often that prestigious chefs venture over to NZ, with a small population base perhaps they feel that the following would be too small but Claire had no problem filling her three classes that weekend.
It was fabulous to see Claire in action, she is so ‘down to earth’ and seems to be at ease presenting to the public. She is certainly top in her craft and made the most elaborate of dishes look easy. It was a honour to watch her work and listen to her stories, the experience was quite humbling to realise how far one has to go to reach that standard. But claire has done the hard yards and deserves that spotlight, it would be nice to see her reap more rewards in the media, if of course that is something she wanted. But perhaps she prefers the honesty of working in top restaurants with a team of like minded people. So thank you Claire for visiting NZ and I hope we see you again in the future.
For those unfamiliar with Claire Clark here is a write up from the NZ Herald about her classes.
Widely recognised as one of the world’s foremost pastry chefs, UK-based Claire Clark has an unparalleled pedigree. From 2005 until April this year she was the head pastry chef at the Michelin-starred Napa Valley restaurant The French Laundry where the price for a nine-course tasting menu is US$240 ($356). In 2005 she was named Best Pastry Chef by Restaurant Magazine and in 2007 her cookbook Indulge won Best Dessert Book at the World Gourmand Awards.
Clark, who was pastry consultant at the House of Commons and a senior lecturer at London’s Le Cordon Bleu, was also the only female recipient of the Meilleur Ouvrier de la Grande Bretagne (Best Crafts Worker of Britain) – the highest award presented for professional excellence. So it’s quite a coup that Hospitality NZ has managed to lure her to Auckland to be the headline act at its trade show later this month.
In New Zealand, Clark will be demonstrating mint delice, a dish she describes as “one of the most fun things I created at The French Laundry. It looks very clean and sharp but it’s actually very technical and it eats well.”
A mint delice consists of two different types of chocolate ganache layered on top of a chocolate feuilletine (a crushed sugared wafer biscuit) and mint chocolate chip parfait all sitting inside a chocolate hoop.
“There’s no other flavour apart from the mint and the chocolate so there’s nothing to confuse – nothing unbalanced or unstructured,” she says.
Clark completed a two-year pastry course at London’s Thames Valley University and honed her skills at a series of upmarket London establishments including The Ritz, Claridge’s and Terence Conran’s Bluebird restaurant.