Hotel’s top chef gives tips for bake off challenge

james-fairchild-colourAspiring cooks taking part in the Great Mildenhall Bake Off have been given some culinary tips by Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa’s top chef James Fairchild.

The executive chef at the award-winning Squires restaurant at Newmarket’s only four-star hotel, is one of a panel of three judges at the charity bake off.

It’s an event being staged by the Mildenhall Lions club and takes place on Saturday 7 June at the Jubilee Centre to raise money for Ovacome, the ovarian cancer support network.

And while he’s at pains not to say what his preferences are he was happy to share some trade secrets to aspiring chefs.

Here are James’s top Bake-Off tips:

  • If you are making a sponge cake make sure you retain a lot of air in the mixture so don’t beat it too much.
  • With chocolate brownies and flapjacks don’t cook them too long. “The mistake people make is taking them out of the oven at the required time, seeing them a little wobbly and gooey and wrongly deciding that they need more time. If you do that, once they cool down they’ll go hard.
  • “If you decide to cook cupcakes, again make sure you don’t overcook them and you’ll need to know where the hot and cool spots are in your oven. I like to design my cupcakes on paper first so I know exactly what they are going to look like.
  • “If you’ve decided to bake scones, get up early on the day and cook them a few hours before the event so you can bring them in fresh – that is the best way to serve them.
  • “For the under 12 cooks, it is always best to cook something you enjoy and like to eat and don’t do something too complex. I’d rather taste something that looks slightly basic but is nice to eat.”

bedford-lodge-great-mildenhall-bake-off-1Kirsti Fox, secretary of the Mildenhall Lions, said: “This is the first time we’ve staged the event so we’ve no idea how many people will attend but it is for the whole community to enter. “We have had a lot of interest and we have a Facebook page now, too, so keep an eye on that.”

The other judges are Scott Taylor from The Courtyard restaurant, Elveden, and Ged Sharrocks of The Riverside House Hotel, Mildenhall.

It is £5 to enter one category but you can enter multiple categories. Check out The Great Mildenhall Bake Off on Facebook for category details or call Kirsti Fox on 07900 498916.

The Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa has 77 stylish guest rooms, is set in three acres of secluded rose gardens and recently opened a new £5.5m Spa. It is just a short distance from Newmarket’s famous paddocks and training stables.

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