Mirka Mohite first joined The Wolseley back in 2010, after a brief spell away from The Wolseley Hospitality Group family she rejoined in December 2017, taking on the role of Pastry Chef at Colbert. We sat down with Mirka to find out why she couldn’t dream of doing anything else, but pastry…
What first drew you to The Wolseley Hospitality Group?
I started a long time ago back in 2010 at The Wolseley – and I had my trial with Chef Regis Negrier (Group Executive Pastry Chef). I really liked that it was such a big team, as I’d come from a much smaller kitchen.
All the things I made that day were new to me and I thought “I can really learn a lot here”. I came down from Leeds just for the trial that day, and then I moved to London to take the job at The Wolseley!
What would you say is the best thing about being pastry chef?
You are never ever bored – you get so much satisfaction, and when people eat your creations and enjoy them it’s great.
Time goes so quickly, I never even have to look at the clock, I couldn’t imagine myself ever doing anything else!
What’s your favourite thing about working at Colbert?
For me, I have such nice memories – and the people are great, it makes all the difference.
And our recipes, they’re so good, they work – they’re so perfected, like our cheesecake or tarte tatin, both are so simple but they never fail. At Colbert, it’s a little different to The Wolseley, we can experiment slightly more and we have different specials every day (Monday-Wednesday for pastry), so I get to come up with ideas and design dishes every week.
Dishes which do well and really match what we’re doing here at Colbert can often end up on the menu – one of my dishes, Gateau Savarin, is going on to the new menu, and my Salted Caramel and Chocolate Délice also made it onto the menu previously! It was so nice and so pretty, we really had to perfect it, and it was fun creating the dishes; we go on a real journey each time to get to the final dish.
How long does it take to create and perfect new pastry recipes?
The development process depends for each recipe, but we make each one a minimum of 3 times. We’re always looking for improvements to incorporate and then once we’re happy with it, we use this final one to create the recipe which we then use in the restaurant.
Which is your personal favourite patisserie/pastry to make – and why?
For me it’s anything with chocolate, because I love chocolate! I love different flavours of chocolate and I love to taste the different notes. So my all-time favourite would have to be a chocolate layered cake.
When you’re not at Colbert, where is your favourite spot for a sweet treat in London?
I’m not sure I can pick one place specifically, but I can recommend some nice places to go for a walk with your dog, and stop for a coffee and something sweet… Chiswick High Street is very like Chelsea, it’s very dog friendly and there are so many independent coffee shops.
Notting Hill is also full of independents, you are spoilt for choice! And closer to Colbert, King Street in Chelsea is a nice place to spend a few hours too.
Besides Colbert, which restaurant(s) in the group do you enjoy dining at?
What advice would you give to someone wanting to become a pastry chef?
To have patience and to persevere. At the beginning, you have to do the same tasks day in, day out, which can seem a little boring of frustrating, but it’s critical to build these good foundations. Then you can go onwards and experiment and do a lot… and maybe even get a dish onto the menu, like me!