We spoke with inspirational pastry chef, Lauren Eldridge to hear some of her thoughts and experiences working in the food industry.
You’ve trained with some incredible chefs including the likes of Massimo Bottura and Guy Savoy – what would you say is the most valuable thing that you have learnt so far?
The chefs that I trained under have quite different styles from each other, however all are respected and successful. It has taught me to be true to my own style and influences instead of replicating somebody else. Copying another chef can show technique but it will not demonstrate creativity or individuality, two things that I think are integral for career development.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge in your career, and how did you overcome that?
The biggest challenge has been overcoming self doubt. I find many Australians like to downplay achievements for fear of becoming egotistical, yet to be successful a chef needs to back themselves and believe they have the ability. I have found it challenging to do this without feeling that I am inflating my own ego, but I am learning to overcome this by acknowledging my experience and trusting myself and my skills.
Produced by Hello Foodservice.
How do you think Australia’s pastry and dessert scene compares to the rest of the world?
I think Australians embrace seasonality and simplicity in restaurant desserts and I find chefs here will often use more subtle techniques, especially in plating the dishes. I found many european countries have more pastry and chocolate shops, however I think in the last 18 months more speciality patisseries are opening up around Australia.
From your experience, what are some of the biggest challenges for women in the foodservice industry?
The two main challenges that I see are the smaller number of women in the foodservice industry, as well as a lack of recognition for those that are succeeding. I think the two are linked, the less women in the kitchen the harder it is for them to be recognised, however without that recognition, the less likely it is that other females will be inspired to enter the industry. I do think this is slowly changing, there has been a large push in Australia over the last year or two for female networking groups and with that, more acknowledgement of the great job many females around the country are doing. However, there is still a long way to go and I think it is the responsibility of the media to recognise women in the industry, not for being female in a male dominated industry, but for being professional, talented and hardworking.
You are known for your flair for bright, contemporary and visually impactful desserts that celebrate seasonal produce. What do you think will be the next big thing in pastry?
I think trends develop from awareness so I’m hoping the next big thing will be more acknowledgment of product origin in typical pastry ingredients. People will often ask where and how their meat has been raised, but would never think to ask where wheat has been grown or chocolate produced. It is just as important for sustainability and there are single origin and specialty producers all around Australia.
Women in Foodservice Charity Event
Hear from Lauren Eldridge and other renowned industry innovators as they discuss their inspiring adventures in food at the Women in Foodservice Charity Event at Fine Food Australia on Wednesday 13th September. Find out more about the charity event, and book your tickets here.