Keith Davis is our Pastry Chef which means he has the very important task of creating delicious desserts for the restaurant as well as designing and making desserts and cakes for private events and weddings.
You’ve been at Le Café du Marché for nearly 30 years, tell us about your time here?
I first came to work here in 1989 just three years after the restaurant opened. Unbelievably it will be 30 years ago next year! I love working for a proper family business like Café du Marché. We’re a close team and there’s a real camaraderie amongst everyone who works here.
How did you get into being a chef?
I loved cooking as a child and was always making brandy snaps and shortbread for my Mum. When I left school, my Dad suggested I become a chef and I was lucky enough to go straight into an apprenticeship at The Waldorf in 1971 and I’ve never looked back. I’ve been really lucky to be able to follow my vocation to be a chef. I would never have enjoyed a career stuck in an office!
Where did you work before you came here?
I first worked with the Charlie Graham-Wood (the founder of Le Café du Marché) at the Restaurant Ship Hispaniola. After a stint at The Savoy, I found myself back at the Hispaniola until one day I got a call from Charlie asking me to come and work for him at Le Café du Marché.
What is special about the desserts you and your team serve at Le Café du Marché?
Le Café du Marché is known for serving classical French cuisine so you will find traditional French deserts on our menu, there’s always a seasonal fruit tart and usually a parfait, fondant or brülée.
We also make bespoke cakes and desserts for weddings and birthday celebrations. I’m particularly proud of making the traditional French wedding cake, Croque en Bouche, a delicate pyramid of profiteroles filled with créme pâtisserie held together by delicate sugar work.
What’s your favourite thing about being a pastry chef?
I love using my flair and creativity to develop new recipes – for example, I love experimenting with macaroons and trying different flavours, colours and cooking at different temperatures to result in real variety. I really like working with all the different kinds of pastry and the variety that offers whether it’s making strudels or a tart. I also love sugar work and how creative you can be with blown or pulled sugar to make decorations like flowers and ribbons.
Have customers’ tastes for deserts changed in the time you’ve worked here?
Yes, definitely. Of course, most importantly deserts have got to look and taste good! Over the years we have changed how we serve puddings now plating them up individually. People have become more health conscious too and we tend to use less double cream than we did now often replacing or mixing it with créme fraîche or yoghurt.
Do you cook at home?
Funnily enough, I rarely make desserts at home but often cook savoury dishes for my wife. Perhaps because I like working with pastry, one of my favourite things to make for a special occasion is Beef Wellington.
What do you do when you’re not in the kitchen?
I love fishing. I love being outdoors and the peace and quiet after the hustle and bustle of being in the kitchen. I also love getting outside on my bike.