Sarah Frankland is the head pastry chef at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot, Surrey. She talks to Katherine Alano about nurturing future pastry chefs and naming the hotel’s new afternoon tea after herself
You have recently launched Afternoon Tea with Sarah Frankland at Pennyhill Park. Can you tell us more about it?
Many restaurants will name the chef to build an identity and associate that experience with the food that they create. I see afternoon tea as the restaurant of the pastry chef – Pennyhill Park wanted to challenge the status quo and recognise the pastry chef and team.
What will be on the menu?
A collection of sandwiches, including Herefordshire roast beef, horseradish cream and rocket, and cave-aged Gruyére with red onion chutney, as well as seasonal cakes and pastries, including a beetroot, orange and balsamic macaroon and a Pennyhill Park honey, lavender and pear éclair. And of course, there will be traditional homemade scones.
Afternoon tea is such a quintessentially British tradition, what makes it so special?
It’s a unique dining experience that you can’t compare to any other meal – the delicate sandwiches and cakes, the environment, the attention to detail and the music. It’s a very relaxing dining experience which is great for families and friends alike to come together and share.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
I obviously love making beautiful cakes and desserts, but I get the most satisfaction developing and working with my team. Seeing people starting out in the industry and developing into mature pastry chefs makes me very happy.
Do you have a favourite cake?
It depends on my mood – my go-to is chocolate based, although I really enjoy seasonal desserts. We had a lovely ruby chocolate and strawberry tart on our summer menu, but if I had to pick one, it’s probably an opera cake.
Who have you most admired in the industry?
There are a lot of people I think have been key to the industry, both in the past and present. I’ve always looked up to French pastry chef and chocolatier Pierre Hermé for revolutionising pastry.
What was your route into the industry? And why pâtisserie in particular?
I was always very interested in art at school as well as having an interest in food. I saw pastry as an opportunity to be creative and being able to eat the end result. So at age 16, I asked Angela Hartnett, who I looked up to as a very successful female chef – and still do – to take me on as an apprentice at the Connaught, which she did. The rest is history!
What are your future goals?
One goal was to have my name on an afternoon tea, and the second is to have that afternoon tea recognised as one of the best experiences available in the UK. Another goal is to continuously support and help young chefs develop – that’s something I care about passionately, given the support I received while I was developing and continue to develop.