Aleen & Overy's Pastry chef, Petra gives us more information on what inspired her to become a chef, and what now influences her approach to cooking. Petra won the dessert course round of the Great City Chefs and her dish will be represented at the final summer banquet.
What made you become a chef and what is your previous experience in kitchens?
I moved to London in 2002 and started work as an au pair for a wealthy family in west London. On my 20th birthday they took me with them on holiday to France, it was here that I discovered my passion for fine food. It was then that I realized that my true calling was to become a chef. Upon my return to London I changed jobs and began working at Allen and Overy. My first role was in the cold kitchen, I quickly moved on to the conference kitchen doing hot and cold buffets, canapés and finger food for business meetings. In 2010 an opening came in in the pastry department this is where I discovered my real calling in the culinary world. I was here that started to really learn and develop my skills and where I found my true calling.
How would you describe your cooking and what are your influences?
My cooking style is modern, influenced by fresh, seasonal produce. This is where I find my inspiration and where my culinary style and influence comes alive.
What does a mid-week meal look like for you?
Steak and organically grown vegetables purchased from Borough market on a Saturday morning. Provenance and eating organically, ethically produced food is very important to me.
Who would your dream dinner guests be and what would you cook for them?
My dream dinner guest would be my beautiful late grandmother. She is a real role model for me, she cooked with passion from the heart her food was full of soul. I would cook her Gnocchi with
foraged wild mushrooms from a forest near my childhood home, fresh cream and truffle oil.
What would you like to get out of the Great City Chefs Competition?
To experience the competitive environment, meet other chef’s from Searcys and broaden my culinary horizons.