AN ARTISANAL BRITISH BAKERY IN SHANGHAI

Chef Talk Interview with Debbie Wong

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Debbie Wong recently met with James Stockdale as part of her Chef Talk interviews, which can be found below

Interview by Debbie Wong on Chef Talk

The British Kitchen is owned and managed by James Stockdale; a fully qualified Architect whose obsession with British baking got the better of him. Shortly after moving to from London to China in 2012, James established an artisanal home bakery in an effort to offer Shanghai classic British baked goods.

James Stockdale是British Kitchen的创始人,他也是一个资深的建筑师,坚信英式烘培找到了更好的自己,2012年从英国伦敦搬到上海不久,James开办了匠心独到的家庭烘培坊,提供经典的英式烘培。

 

Q&A English Version

Debbie: What is it about British baked goods that set them apart from say, French or American sweets?

James: For me personally there is a huge nostalgia with British Baked goods. I have very fond memories of walking into my local bakeries when I was young and staring wide eyed at all the delicious offerings. I can still distinctly remember the smell and sheer variety of different cakes, buns, biscuits, rolls, breads and everything else in between! I do of course enjoy French patisserie and sweets but I think there is something special and homely about British desserts and cakes that for me set them apart. Although British cakes can often be modest when it comes to looks, I think they more than make up for it in depth of flavor and their ability to make you always crave for another piece even after seconds (or even thirds!).

Debbie: I know you are an architect ( or former architect?) how did your passion for baking come?

James: I often refer to myself as an Architect whom’s obsession with baking got the better of him! I’ve had a passion for baking since as long as I remember. My mother is an extraordinary baker and growing up on a farm it felt like she was constantly in the kitchen preparing all sorts of delicious food and baked goods for the family. I remember I would stand beside her on one of the kitchen chairs and she would often give me ingredients to play with to make my own creations (one of which I remember exploding in the oven!). I think it was this early exposure to food that really developed my interest and kindled my natural curiosity of working with food, understanding the science of baking and experimenting with flavor and texture combinations.

Debbie: Which of your offerings are a best seller in Shanghai? Are you surprised?

James: I tend to change what I bake for my customers almost every week, depending on what ingredients are seasonally available and new recipes I’ve been working on. Having said this, there are always a few firm favorites that I never fail to make! One of these is Chunky Salted Caramel Chocolate Brownies. I’ve got a slight obsession with brownies, in that I hate it when I buy one in a shop and they are dry, not at all chocolaty and more often than not disgustingly sweet. I prefer to make mine really fudgy, moist and offer up a really strong hit of chocolate – everything a good brownie in my eyes should be.
I wouldn’t say I was surprised to discover that British baked products sell well in Shanghai, as I truly believe the UK produces some of the best baking and cakes anywhere in the world (we did after all invent afternoon tea!). I did however make modifications to the sugar quantity in some of my products as I quickly learned that my Chinese customers prefer less sweet products.

Debbie: Finally, a very important question: how do you take your tea?

James: The MOST important question! A cup of ‘builders’ with milk and no sugar, thank you very much! (‘Builders’ is an affectionate term we British use for regular black tea, as quite simply its what builders drink!). The French are known to say “To put milk in your tea before sugar is to cross the path of love, perhaps never to marry” however as I’m neither French, superstitious or take sugar in my tea, I like add the milk in first!

Q&A 中文

Debbie:英式烘培和法国或美国甜品焙烤有什么不一样的地方吗?

James:对于我个人来说英式烘培有着浓浓的怀旧。我至今仍然记得当我小时候走进附近面包房时,看见所有美味的食物,眼睛都要瞪出来了那种美好的回忆。我至今还清楚地记得当时不同的蛋糕,面包,饼干,蛋卷的香味和模样!当然,我也很喜欢法国糕点和甜点,和法国糕点不一样的是,英国糕点有着特别的亲切感和家庭的温馨感,虽然英国的蛋糕看起来不是很惊艳,但是他们的味道能弥补一切,一旦吃起来会使你想吃停不下来。

Debbie:我知道你是一个建筑师(或原建筑师?)你的烘培热情是从哪里来的呢?

James:我常常说自己是作为一个建筑师对烘培的痴迷找到了更好的自己!从我记事起,我就对烘培很着迷。我的母亲是一个非同寻常的面包师,我从小成长在一个农场里,感觉她天天都呆在厨房里给家人们准备各种美味的食品和焙烤蛋糕。我记得我经常站在她身边的椅子上,她会给我一些食材和一起玩,鼓励我创作自己的食物(有一次我甚至引爆了烤箱!)。我认为正是早期我对食物的接触,培养了我的兴趣还有强大的好奇心,了解了烘焙的科学性和风味,质地的组合试验。

Debbie:其中您的哪款产品在上海是最畅销的?你感到惊讶吗?

James:每周给客户烘培时我都会尝试做些改变,这也取决于当季的食材和我在创新新的食谱。说了这么多,总有一些固定的回头客最爱的甜点,其中一个就是焦糖海盐巧克力布朗尼。我是一个布朗尼的铁杆粉丝,之前当我在一间店铺买到一个布朗尼,发现他们是干的,很不开心,而且也没有很浓的巧克力味,取代的过度的甜。我喜欢略带蓬松感,甜润,浓浓巧克力的布朗尼,至少在我眼里好的布朗尼都应该是这样的。于是就开始自己做了。我不会觉得很惊讶英国的烘焙产品在上海也卖的好,因为我真的相信英国有着一些世界上最好的烘焙和蛋糕(我们毕竟也创造了下午茶!)。我也会刻意在产品的甜度上做一些修改, 因为中国的客人更喜欢低糖些的口味

Debbie:最后,一个很重要的问题:你怎么泡茶的?

James:最重要的问题!一杯’建设者’加牛奶不加糖,谢谢! (’建设者’是我们英国人惯用的红茶术语,,因为很简单,就是工人喝的!)。法国会很典型的说:“把牛奶在糖之前先加进茶里,是挡了爱的道路,这样也许永不结婚”。 但是我也不是法国人,所以依旧我的方式,先加牛奶!