5 minute interview with Paulo Abreeu, Pastry Chef

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Our Pastry chef, Paulo, could talk about food all day. So we asked him for just five minutes to tell us about his passion for food, his Brazilian influences and his contribution to the Bateaux London charity ‘boot sale’.

Hi Paulo, what made you want to become a chef?

I started cooking at a really young age: my mum would work really long hours and my brothers and I would take turns cooking for each other. So it started as a necessity but soon turned into a hobby. I loved creating new recipes, being adventurous and improvising dishes with different ingredients. Then later at Uni, I would always cook for friends and bring food for parties.

How did you decide to do it as a career?

Well, I had moved to London to complete my degree and I got a job as a kitchen porter as well as a kitchen assistant on the side. My degree was in Marketing but it was my student job that revealed my true vocation: I was to be a chef!

I completed a two-year course where I got the qualification I needed to work in a gastro pub and that gave me the true impulse to become the chef I am today. Now I have been the pastry chef at Bateaux London for four years and in my spare time I bake more cakes for markets and shops around London. I love it!

That seems pretty clear! And what did you decide on for your contribution to the Stop Hunger Boot Sale? 

Well, our chef Azzi will be cooking Lunch for the office, asking staff for a £5 contribution to raise money for Charity. Naturally, I’m in charge of the best part: the cake!

Azzi picked the theme of North African cuisine – as a last attempt to revive the summer vibes I guess! Inspired by their sweet delights, I’ll be making a pistachio sponge topped with rose buttercream. I hope they save me a share!

Sounds delicious! So, where do you get inspiration?

I used to read old family recipe books and would recreate cakes and desert - just based on the photos! It is a great guessing game and really stimulates your creativity. Now I get inspiration from everywhere, going out, eating around and from TV. Of course my Brazilian origins have a great influence and that means I love using Passion Fruit!

It sounds like it was inevitable you would become a chef.

I think so. I look back and I think, there was no other job for me - it came so naturally. The only frustration I get is that I can’t really enjoy the food I just make; I send the food to our customers and wait for feedback. So whenever I can invite friends for a meal I make sure to leave the biggest room for desert!

Thanks Paulo.

Thanks. I hope you enjoy the dessert.

On Friday 9th September, Bateaux London staff will pay £5 for a hot meal and dessert as well as bringing any unwanted good for others to purchase – to raise further money to charity. Stop Hunger is an initiative to fight against hunger and malnutrition throughout the world. The charity was set up by Sodexo Ltd (which includes Bateaux London as a venue) in 1996 and it conducts actions in the 80 countries.

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