Louise was 17 when she landed a job as apprentice chef and learned the skills of classical French cuisine. Today it’s working with bakery products that gives her the biggest satisfaction. “Bakery products are technically and scientifically amazing – and a true art form,” she says.
An evening meal of traditional Scottish stovies awaits Louise and her family at the end of another busy day in the Lantmännen Unibake development kitchen in Bagshot, Surrey. A throwback to Louise’s own Scottish roots, the beef and potato hotpot is quite a contrast to the finely laminated Danish pastries that occupy her time at work.
Here, her focus is innovation in indulgence. Louise develops recipes and produces samples that match supermarket requests for new pastry products. It’s also her job to create novel ideas that will keep consumers coming back for more.
What’s the best product you ever developed?
“That’s the Triple Chocolate Crown. This is our first-to-market product with our new cocoa dough. Not only has it created a new product area within Danish pastry, it’s enabled us to penetrate a new consumer segment – younger consumers and families, who typically don’t buy Danish pastries in supermarkets.”
When you’re looking for inspiration, which ingredient inspires you most?
“Chocolate is a favourite of mine. It pairs with so many flavours and has so much flavour complexity of its own, from fruity to smoky.”
What do you like about being a development chef in the bakery industry?
“Bakery products are technically and scientifically amazing – and a true art form. They also mean something special to everyone. For me, it’s about the UK coffee culture. A pastry and a coffee – lovely.”
Which music do you hear when you’re in the kitchen?
“I work with my development chef colleague Jon MacDonald and he chooses the tunes. He’s a pretty good DJ, and we listen to a big range of music styles. If I’m under pressure, Jon always plays Michael Buble to calm me down!”
Who does the cooking when you get home from work?
“I usually cook good, old-fashioned, homemade fare for my husband and our two children.But I love the diversity of many cuisines across the globe, as well as cooking dishes for health and wellbeing.”
Chocolate is a favourite of mine