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Graham Hornigold

Graham Hornigold

In his role as executive pastry chef, Graham oversaw the pastry sections of Hakkasan's portfolio around the world including Hakkasan, Yauatcha, Sake No Hana and HKK as well as a development and production kitchen which produced as many as 12,000 macarons and 1,200 intricate cakes every week. He was responsible for over 120 pastry chefs working in twenty different kitchens. Graham acknowledges that it was difficult to control consistency from afar, but he loved the challenges that the different sites brought and was in constant communication with his head chefs.

As well as the difficulties of running multiple kitchens, Graham faced the problem of creating desserts that sat well on an Asian menu and that weren’t too heavy or sweet. ‘People tended to over-order in Hakkasan restaurants and the food had a lot of strong flavours – chilli, oyster sauce, soy sauce – we had to look to sharper, cleansing elements or unexpected ingredients to attain salivation rather than relying on sweetness.’

The result was a selection of mouth-watering desserts that looked ultra-rich and decadent but were deceptively refreshing and light. The Rose delice, for example, is a divine chocolate mousse cut with the acidity of fresh raspberries and HKK’s Trio of chocolate dumplings is served with a cleansing infusion of yuzu and ginger that is poured over the dish at the table. Both these desserts were Graham's creations.

Graham credits some of his previous head chefs with forming his career but he also acknowledges the role that his older brother Simon played in the early days. In the years he spent at TVU in Slough, Graham was also working at The Lygon Arms in Worcestershire and as he didn’t have a car, his brother would drive from St Albans to Broadway every Saturday night to pick him up after service and take him home to St Albans to make sure he could get to college on Monday morning.

Tragically Simon was killed in a car crash in 2006 along with Graham’s other brother, Ian. Graham now runs the marathon each year in memory of Simon who completed the 2006 marathon in aid of Wellchild. ‘I say I run the marathon but my guys say, ‘Chef, you just walk it!’, but I don’t really mind as long as I’m raising funds and awareness for Wellchild. Everything I do and put back into this industry, it’s for my brother; without him I don’t think I would have made it as a chef.’

After twenty years of hard graft and inspired creativity, Graham Hornigold is at the very top of his profession. He continues to work with the very best restaurants to make their dessert and pastry offering the best it can be, which can only be a good thing for pudding lovers everywhere.