Chef Talk Interview with Debbie Wong


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






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


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!