Welcome to our blog....here we will share all our afternoon tea adventures with you...the good, the bad and the wonderful!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Meet the Pastry Chef.....Ji Sun Shin

Welcome to a new type of post from Tea With Me and Friends, where we meet the people behind the wonderful afternoon teas that we enjoy and ask them the all important question....are you a jam first or cream first kinda person?

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Ji Sun Shin, the pastry chef behind the wonderful afternoon teas at The Ampersand hotel in South Kensington. Ji Sun didn't dream of being a pastry chef when she was little, in fact she hadn't even thought of it when she was growing up in Korea. Ji Sun wanted to be an artist and study for an art degree. When she came to London, she decided to get creative in the kitchen instead.

Ji Sun Shin - The Ampersand

Ji Sun started her career by spending three years at Marco Pierre White's Mirabelle, before going on to spend five years at Nobu Park Lane before joining Head Chef Chris Golding at The Ampersand Hotel. Prior to working at The Ampersand Ji Sun hadn't created any afternoon teas....but looking at her recent creations you couldn't tell!

There are two different afternoon teas on offer at The Ampersand - the classic afternoon tea, offering traditional sandwiches and cakes. And the Albertopolis afternoon tea....the chef's special, which changes regularly throughout the year and all look rather spectacular....

A spooky afternoon tea at Halloween, complete with pumpkins and dry-ice....

Halloween afternoon tea at
The Ampersand Hotel

Christmas got cute, with mini reindeer and snowmen.....

Christmas afternoon tea at
The Ampersand Hotel

 Ji Sun's favourite afternoon tea for 2013 was her London Fashion Week afternoon tea....

Afternoon tea dedicated to London Fashion Week at
The Ampersand Hotel

After chatting about Ji Sun's background for a while, I asked her some burning questions about life as a pastry chef....

What is the best bit about being a pastry chef?
When everything comes together - its important that an afternoon tea looks pretty, but it must taste good too.

Are there any bad bits?
The long and unsociable hours can be tiring.

What are your favourite kitchen tools?
My kitchen-aid and the Thermomix (I had to be educated about the Thermomix but apparently its a blender and processor that also weighs and cooks! Maybe the next big kitchen appliance?)

What are your favourite ingredients to use?
I love the texture and flavour of nuts and like to try to incorporate them

Do you bake at home when you're not working?
Not often, I do bake for special occasions though. 

Where do you get inspiration for your afternoon teas?
From everywhere and anything - it could be from a painting, or a colour. I research a lot.

How long does it take to create a new afternoon tea?
It depends really - I started creating the Valentines afternoon tea just after Christmas! 

From your own afternoon tea menu, what is your favourite sandwich filling?
The salmon and cream cheese - very English!

What is your favourite part of afternoon tea?
Definitely the scones! Either plain or fruit.

FACT - On an average weekend Ji Sun makes approximately 100 scones each day - that's a lot of rolling and baking!

If you could invite any guest to afternoon tea with you, who would it be?
Mary Berry

Finally the most important question.....on a scone do you spread cream or jam first?
Definitely cream first, as it acts a layer underneath the jam. If you do it the other way it makes a mess!

Ji Sun's next afternoon tea creation is her beautiful Valentine's afternoon tea, complete with heart shaped scones and macaroons. Take a peek at how wonderful it looks.....

Valentines Afternoon Tea at
The Ampersand Hotel

Doesn't that look scrummy? Shall we take a closer peek?

Heart shaped scones and macaroons at
The Ampersand Hotel

Are you drooling yet? Lets take a closer look.....

Sweet treats on offer at the Ampersand Hotel's
Valentines afternoon tea

If you'd like to indulge in this Valentine's Afternoon Tea, take a look at The Ampersand website for more information about booking....but be quick...the tea is only available from Friday 7th - Sunday 16th February 2014! 

It was a pleasure to spend time with Ji Sun, a very creative pastry chef who is also very humble about her beautiful creations. I am looking forward to seeing what other afternoon teas she creates this year at The Ampersand.

I hope you've enjoyed this post from Tea With Me and Friends, we will be meeting more pastry chefs during our afternoon tea adventures...asking them all sorts of important questions about tea!

Thanks for popping by today,

1 comment:

anika said...

Wow her work is amazing.