Eric Lanlard – UK Chef, TV Host, Master Pâtissier and Cookbook Author
Featured Chef in the 2013 Vanilla Vine, Issue #1
Having baked for the likes of Elizabeth Hurley, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Madonna–yes, we said Madonna–Chef Eric Lanlard explained in a recent interview with Nielsen-Massey that while it’s quite exciting to bake for celebrities, he and his team at his London-based pastry shop, Cake Boy, put love and effort into every order. He maintained, “As I always like to say, we bake cake for everybody, including celebrities, because at the end of the day, all customers get the same treatment from us.” As if his support for Nielsen-Massey products and unbelievably beautiful and delicious pastries weren’t enough to make him one of our favorite chefs, with his personable and down-to-earth attitude, the pleasure is all ours!
Starring in hit television programs in Britain, having authored four cookbooks and running Cake Boy café, cooking school and pastry shop, this Master Pâtissier is quite busy. With all of his current professional ventures, he still found the time for his mini U.S. book tour for his latest book, Tart It Up!, that just wrapped up late in 2012, during which he stopped at Nielsen-Massey’s Waukegan facility for a French Pastry School event.
His book, Tart It Up!, delves into sweet pastries, which Chef Lanlard is well known for, and also includes savory dishes. Chef Lanlard explained that he’s always wanted to write about savory baking, which often gets a bad rap.
During his tour he made several stops, and expressed that his book had a great reception at each stop and that it was an eye-opener to find out how many Americans love to bake. His favorite part of the tour, though, was talking to pastry school students at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York and at the Nielsen-Massey French Pastry School event. He said, “It’s always nice to be able to share my passion with future pastry chefs and hopefully give them more confidence moving forward in the profession.” Chef Lanlard doesn’t just leave baking to the professionals, either, and thinks that creating eye-catching and great tasting pastries can be done by anyone with a passion for baking.
In fact, Chef Lanlard’s books and television shows are geared towards the average Joe (or Jane). When describing his latest book, he said, “There is a big section on various pastry and step-by-step techniques; pastry is a big part of baking, and this easy-to-follow book will give confidence to even the most amateur baker.” He also explained the importance of using fine ingredients.
Chef Lanlard said, “It’s no secret, both for cooking and baking, always use the best ingredients. What’s the point of investing time to create something and use average ingredients?” And when it comes to vanilla, the chef has a clear choice for quality: Nielsen-Massey. His favorite products, you ask? “Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Bean Paste are my favorites, as well as the Lemon Extract,” Chef Lanlard explained, “I like using the Vanilla Bean Paste as it is the closest to using fresh vanilla pods with all the glorious little seeds, and the consistency doesn’t interfere with the recipes.” He also offered a tip to Vanilla Vine readers for baking with Nielsen-Massey Vanilla products, “To keep all of the gorgeous, complex flavors of vanilla, always try to add it to your recipes at the end, as the heat destroys some of the flavors. For example, fold it into custard when finished, instead of putting it into the hot milk.”
While some chefs like to keep their techniques a secret, Chef Lanlard tries to share his tips, if only to share his passion. He said, “I was lucky to be trained under great chefs who love sharing their passion for the profession and groomed me to be the best. And now it is my turn through my cookery school, my books and TV shows to try to do the same. Sharing my knowledge and my love of baking with the viewers or readers–for me–is the biggest reward, as well as seeing people be inspired to bake because they saw me on TV or read my books.”