The Wordrobe talks business ventures and pastry pursuits with Graham Hornigold of Smart Patisserie
When it comes to pastry, Graham Hornigold knows his stuff. An expert on all things indulgent, Graham’s skills have been refined in some of London’s finest restaurants and hotels in London – conjuring mouth-watering desserts with flair and finesse.
Perpetually passionate about sharing his craft, he’s recently launched Smart Patisserie – a full-service restaurant and hospitality consultancy company that offers everything from menu design to tailor-made masterclasses.
We sat down with Graham and Smart Patisserie’s co-founder Heather Kaniuk (ex-pastry chef of Shangri-La London and equally talented dessert creator) to talk more about the new venture, as well as Graham’s culinary journey so far.
What inspired you to launch your latest venture?
Graham: We both wanted to start a business, but it had been something that had been on the back burner as we both had very hectic and full on schedules at Hakkasan and Shangri-la, respectively.
When the opportunity presented itself we launched Smart Patisserie, which has since taken us to the GCC, Kuwait and Doha, as well as undertaking contracts within the UK.
Both of us have travelled extensively, and from our experiences have found a passion for teaching and training.
How does it work? Tell us more about Smart Patisserie…
Smart Patisserie is a full-service restaurant and hospitality consultancy company. Our services range from menu design, demonstrations, tailor made classes, dish development, training programmes and more.
We love what we do and love working with people that love what they do. We’re small and nimble which means we work collaboratively with clients. Our goal is to form meaningful partnerships with like-minded people to grow successful restaurants that deliver on business objectives.
What inspired you to become a chef?
Graham: Starting in the main kitchen I soon realised I preferred pastry, as it had more mediums to please. Although I still dabble in the hot, the main reasons to become a chef stem from my love of food and new flavour experiences.
Heather: I loved cooking from a young age- my mother and grandmother were both great cooks, who taught me the basics. My grandmother was a cake decorator and I spent many afternoons as a child with her trying to make icing flowers, and this led me into wanting to pursue pastry as a career. I was also a very active child, with a large appetite, and I think this led my mum to teach me to cook for myself!
Do you have any culinary role models?
Graham: While we both admire many professionals in the industry, it’s important to maintain ones’ own identity. It’s easy these days for cooks to see other’s work on social media, rather than exploring their own style and creating their unique concepts based from their own experiences.
Describe your cooking style in three words.
Clean, light, contemporary.
What does hospitality mean to you?
Hospitality encompasses a way of life that ensures guests are welcomed, relaxed and their needs are taken care of. As a chef, we strive to deliver dishes that entertain and keep our guests engaged, while delivering a unique dining experience.
Desserts are the last course of a meal so it is vitally important that we give diners an experience that creates interest and delight.
What keeps you inspired?
Watching old chefs grow, and new chefs develop! Seeing new trends, flavours and finding inspiration from our travels.
Do you have a favourite summer ingredient?
Heather: I love all the fresh summer fruits, especially berries. Elderflower has been my new favourite this year.
Name three of your top restaurants.
1 Barrafina, London. Amazing flavours, and superb execution every time.
2 Salt – Paul Foster, Stratford upon Avon. Some of the best cooking we’ve ever had!
3 Cable Bay Winery- Waiheke New Zealand. Incredible wines, local produce and amazing views.
What’s next on the cards?
Currently upcoming, we have a restaurant opening in Doha, some recipe development, and judging at The Salon du Chocolat in Paris. Longer term, developing the business, and hopefully a trip to New Zealand.