Marius Pinciu, Head Baker at London Business School, is one of our only dedicated bakers. Here we catch up with him about life at the School and all things involving dough. We talk about what life as a Baker is really like and the finesse and artistry that can go into baking.
As part of my role I open the bakery for the business and make sure all the baking equipment and premises is clean prior to and post production.
It’s my role to check the quality and weight of kneading, mixing and shaping dough to produce bread and pastry. I prepare fillings for pastries and other baked bread, coordinate the baking process of bread and danish pastry, and operate all the bakery machinery.
It is tempting to say that it’s in my blood – baking is something that I love and I’m really quite good at it.
I started at the bottom, working as a baking assistant, where I learnt all the secrets to baking on the job and then I worked my way up from there. Progressing this way means I have been able to build solid experience and knowledge to excel as a head baker.
I constantly look for ways to expand my skills. As well as keeping an eye on what’s happening on the high street, I continue to go on training courses and make sure that I am up to speed with food hygiene regulations. This is key and such an important requirement for the job.
I started from the bottom in the bakery and by focusing, learning everyday and being hard working, I was able to work my way up the ladder. It’s been fantastic to work with the Lexington team to launch the bakery here at London Business School.
After 20 years of baking, I don’t need to use recipe cards to mix ingredients now. I know what ingredients are needed and it all just comes naturally to me. It’s nice to be able to work like this and then add a bit of creativity to what I do.
I love being in control of the bakery. Having the opportunity to plan and build the bakery was fantastic – the layout of a bakery’s working area helps streamline the amount of work that needs to be done, because a lot of work goes into making each of those yummy baked goods.
I love to bake most types of bread but my favourite bread to make and bake is sourdough bread.
It’s such an old style of baking, using the starter and a long fermentation process (24 hours). It’s a real art and I absolutely love seeing the end result.
Sourdough bread is very popular and healthy – it’s becoming more and more popular, which is fabulous for me because I love making it.
To successfully work as a baker you must first possess an interest in food and a passion for baking. This is what will help you cope with the early morning starts, which are often required. I love baking so starting work at 5am is not so much of a chore.
2. Strong work ethic
Secondly, you must possess a strong work ethic and the ability to work independently with minimal supervision. The early starts and working independently a lot of the time is not for everyone. Also, it can be a physically demanding being on your feet all day, so you must be able to handle the physical stress of the job.
3. Team player
Whilst you work independently a lot being a willing team player is key. You need to work well with others in both a kitchen and commercial setting, such as the front of house team who are serving your baked goods.
Understanding the different stages of baking is key. It’s great to watch other bakers and learn from them:
– Focus on understanding the art to mixing the ingredients
– Focus on understanding when the mixture if ready to bake
– Spend time getting to know how to use all the bakery equipment properly
Exciting, demanding, rewarding!