Our Bid Manager, Ciarah Cook, got an invite to our Chefs Forum and gives us a behind the scenes report on what they got up to…
A group of eager Lexy chefs didn’t let Storm Doris get in the way of this quarter’s Chefs Forum held at the fabulous Paul Rhodes Bakery in Greenwich. Founded by former Michelin-starred chef Paul Rhodes in 2003, Paul Rhodes Bakery has built a strong reputation as the go-to supplier of the widest range of quality handcrafted breads, cakes and pastries in London. Paul Rhodes Bakery and Lexington have worked together from the beginning, so this was a fantastic opportunity for our chefs to see where the bread we serve on site daily is produced.
The forum started with the man himself greeting us and giving us an overview of the day. Rob Kirby and Paul have known each other since their restaurant days so the banter between the pair of them was in full swing! The bakery itself has grown hugely in the last two years having expanded from 5,000sq ft to 25,000 sq ft in this time – a huge testament to their success!
The group was then split into two sessions – one half taking a bakery tour and the other into the tasting room. For the bakery tour everyone donned their hair nets and overalls and were shown each stage of the bread making process; from kneading to proof rooms to the huge ovens, every step of the process was managed with care and precision to ensure that the end product was of the highest quality. The attention to detail and dedication to handcrafted bread was evident when they told us that every bagel is hand rolled – and when you’re producing thousands every day that’s a lot of rolling!
The second part of the day was the tasting room, and after whetting our appetites in the bakery we were definitely ready to try some of the delicious wares! When we walked into the room there were rows upon rows of different breads and cakes including the most delicious stilton and red onion focaccia and London sourdough (which is left to ferment for a whopping 36 hours!), plus a gorgeous red velvet cake and flourless chocolate cake.
From start to finish, you could really sense the passion from Paul and his team – their enthusiasm for their craft was infectious! Our chefs (and myself!) came away with a big smile on their faces and bags full of Rhodes’ delicious produce to take home and enjoy!