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IN CONVERSATION WITH: RAVNEET GILL
Ravneet Gill is a pastry chef, business owner, columnist for The Guardian, Junior Bake Off judge and Instagram star. After working in some of London’s top restaurants, including St. JOHN, she went on to write two cookbooks – The Pastry Chef’s Guide and Sugar, I Love You, both providing insightful baking tips and recipes, including her insta-famous ‘Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies’.
We’ve collaborated with Rav to share her cookies nationwide, with bake-at-home chocolate chip cookie dough in three different flavours, which can be ordered here.
To celebrate the launch of Rav’s Perfect Cookies, we chatted to the cookie queen herself about her life in food, including how she began her career, which chefs inspire her and where she likes to eat in London.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED AS A PASTRY CHEF?
“While I was studying Psychology at university, I spent the whole time baking for people, so I realised I should be a pastry chef instead! So, after graduating from university, I went to Le Cordon Bleu cookery school in London and did the basic and intermediate courses which took around six months – it's where I learnt the foundations of French patisserie. After finishing, I went straight into working in kitchens, one of the very first being the 5th floor at Harvey Nichols (when the restaurant was a thing!) and Zuma.”
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DESERT ISLAND DESSERT?
“If I had to take just one dessert to a desert island, it would probably be a bowl of never-ending custard because you can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and have no problems at all.”
WHICH PIECE OF KITCHEN EQUIPMENT COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?
“I have so many pieces of kitchen equipment that are sacred to me. However, I have to say one of my favourites is a spatula, because it keeps things clean!”
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANTS IN LONDON?
“London is full of some of the best restaurants in my opinion. There's too many to mention, but if I had to choose, two that come to my mind immediately are: Brawn, because it’s always reliable and has a nice, relaxed vibe, and Sabor, where I love to sit and watch the chefs at work.
WHICH CHEFS INSPIRE YOU?
“Before I started out, I was really inspired by people like Angela Hartnett, Raymond Blanc and Michel Roux, but nowadays, Instagram allows you to discover lots of new chefs from all around the world. Now, I'm constantly inspired by a lot of the newcomers who are bringing interesting and different techniques to the forefront – for example, Matt Adlard (@mattadlard) is incredible and totally self taught, it’s really impressive. I also love seeing creations from people who cook the food of their heritage, like Melek Erdal (@mels_place_east), who makes a lot of Kurdish food – I’ve been lucky enough to try her baklava and I can report that it's excellent.
WHAT'S YOUR CAREER HIGHLIGHT?
“One of my top career highlights was becoming a judge on Junior Bake Off because it was quite surreal – it wasn’t something I had gone for, but I ended up getting it and it was such a fun time. Now I've filmed two series and I absolutely loved it!”
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE WORLD FOR A FOODIE BREAK?
“I think you can find pockets of good food in every city or country you go to. I always have a really good time in Paris, because I love going to all the bakeries, but I also had a great time in Mumbai, eating at all the little street food shacks."
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SHOP-BOUGHT SNACK?
“Oh, I'm a big fan of shop-bought snacks. If you come over to my house, you’ll see that my biscuit tin is always full. I’ve usually got Pick Ups, as well as those biscuits with the big slab of chocolate on top. I also love any chocolates with a creamy, praline filling, and I love crisps!"
WHAT'S YOUR GO-TO DINNER AFTER A LONG DAY AT WORK?
“My go-to dinner to cook at the end of a very long day is to not cook at all and order a takeaway!”