The Caterer
Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

Claire Clark

24 April 2008 by

Claire Clark, the executive pastry chef at Thomas Keller's three-Michelin-star The French Laundry restaurant in California, is regarded as one of the top three pastry chefs in the world today.

The petite (5' 1") vicar's daughter who originally intended to pursue a career in music has clocked up a number of firsts in her 25-year career as a pastry chef which has encompassed working in some of the top hotels and restaurants in London.

Claire Clark
Education: City & Guilds, Aylesbury College, Buckinghamshire Current interestsThe French Laundry, California >>](http://www.frenchlaundry.com) [100 Perfect Desserts >>

A two-year City & Guilds catering course at Aylesbury College in Buckinghamshire led to Claire Clark's first role, aged 17, as a grill commis at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford, where she switched to pastry.

A job ad inCaterer & Hotelkeeper first took her to London as pastry commis in Mayfair's Crockfords gaming club. Clark's next move, to the Ritz hotel, proved to be a "baptism by fire".

London's Sutherlands restaurant awarded Clark her first role as pastry chef under Garry Hollihead, where she remained for 18 months before moving on to the Portman Inter-Continental hotel.

As head of pastry at Le Cordon Bleu - where she taught for three years - Clark was one of just three women in the UK arm of the Academie Culinaire de France and was asked to join the Master Chefs of Great Britain.

After serving as head pastry chef at Conran's Bluebird restaurant, Claire Clark set up the pastry department at the House of Commons before moving to Claridge's, where she won the distinction of becoming the only female recipient of the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de la Grand-Bretagne (Best Craft Worker of Britain) award.

She left in 2000 to seek a suitable London site for a dessert restaurant and, when this failed to materialise, joined the Hilton London Metropole in 2001.

In September 2003, Clark became part of the launch team for Chris Corbin and Jeremy King's highly-anticipated new venture, the Wolselely restaurant in Piccadilly, helping to make it one of London's hottest to-be-seen-at venues.

After two years at the Wolseley Clark spotted an ad placed by America's acclaimed chef Thomas Keller in Caterer & Hotelkeeper and, after meeting him, was wooed away from London and her role as chairman of the Association of Pastry Chefs in September to become head pastry chef at his renowned French Laundry restaurant in California in September 2005. That same year, Clark was voted Best Pastry Chef by Restaurant magazine.

Her first book, 100 Perfect Desserts (which featured a foreword by Keller) was voted the Best Dessert Book in the 2007 World gourmand Awards

Claire Clark recipes on CatererSearch
Chocolate red wine cake, by Claire Clark >>

Bramley apple and cinnamon risotto, by Claire Clark >>

Blood orange, cara cara and mandarin jellies with pink grapefruit hache - by Claire Clark >>
Recipes from Claire Clark, pastry chef at California's French Laundry >>

Claire Clark on CatererSearch

Women in the front line >>

Tough cookie >>

Choc absorber >>

Claire Clark on the Web

The French Laundry >>

Claire Clark - master patissier on Jancis Robinson >>

Indulge: 100 Perfect Desserts on Absolute Press >>
The French Laundry at the Association of Pastry Chefs >>
Claire Clark at Chef2chef >>

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.

close

Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking