Top pastry chef opens academy

Claire Clark MBE
Claire Clark MBE

A top pastry chef and Bake-Off judge from Tingewick is set to open a new academy for budding pastry chefs.

In a unique partnership with Milton Keynes College, Claire Clark MBE is to open The Claire Clark Academy.

The academy will operate from the college’s Bletchley campus, taking advantage of the first-class kitchen facilities and expert tutors.

Claire, who was awarded an MBI in 2011 for services to the food industry, grew up in Tingewick, where her father, Rev David Hemsley, was vicar. She attended the village primary school, Page Hill Middle School in Buckingham and Waddesdon C of E School, and trained at Aylesbury College.

Claire has worked for some of the most prestigious restaurants, hotels and event caterers in England, and learned from some of the most skilled chefs in industry. Industry awards include the title of Best Pastry Chef in 1999 and 2005 from Restaurant Magazine.

In recent months, Claire has been a member of the judging panel for the BBC’s Bake-Off Crème de la Crème contest, which saw teams of professional pastry chefs put to the test.

After announcing the academy at the college’s Stars of the Future showcase event, Claire said: “I’m delighted to be working with Milton Keynes College’s catering department to bring the first Patisserie Academy of its kind to students and professionals. This is a time when we need to be encouraging them to study and further their careers to meet demand for the diminishing supply of trained, skilled pastry chefs in the industry.

“There will also be courses for the enthusiastic home baker to hone their skills and master that tricky technique.

“I am genuinely excited about the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead for developing and growing a strong education programme for all.”