Chitkara University hosts ‘Culinary Art Demonstrations’ by Patisserie Chef Matthew Hodgett
Where dedication and close ties to the hospitality & tourism industry are hallmarks of teaching and learning, Chitkara University invited Le Cordon Bleu, London; Patisserie Teaching Chef Matthew Hodgett, to hold a live demonstration session for the students of Chitkara School of Culinary Arts, on May 1, 2019. Le Cordon Bleu is a world renowned network of educational institutions dedicated to providing the highest level of culinary and hospitality education through world-class programs.
English born Chef Matthew Hodgett first trained at Stamford College where he discovered his love for pâtisserie. After gaining an Advanced Pastry qualification, Chef Matthew worked at Hanbury Manor and later Gravetye Manor where he helped them earn their first Michelin Star. During the course of his career, Chef Matthew has gained experience at the InterContinental Hotel, the American Embassy, and Claridges, as well as worked as Head Pastry Chef for the Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and Wentworth Golf Course.
Chef Hodgett joined Le Cordon Bleu, London, in 2010 as Pâtisserie Teaching Chef. He has since taught classes in Korea and Poland as a representative of the School. Chef Matthew has also contributed to a number of highly intricate and elaborate cakes which Le Cordon Bleu, London, has produced: namely the 150th birthday cake for St Pancras International inspired by the iconic destination; and Le Cordon Bleu’s very own 120th birthday cake. The Chef has numerous accolades under his belt too – from participating in various national competitions to winning a gold medal at Hotelympia Culinary Salon for his live Banquet for a 1000 people and contributing to a 9ft replica of Queen Elizabeth’s and Prince Philips 75th Anniversary, he is one of the best in his field.
One can easily spot Chef Matthew Hodgett for his warm and welcoming smile. Add to that his classic ‘James Bond style’ pose with a whisk, a great sense of humor, impromptu questions and chirpy discussions on Cricket & Football – Chef Hodgett’s live ‘Culinary Arts Demonstration’ session and interaction with Chitkara School of Culinary Arts students transformed the ordinary kitchen experience to extraordinary. Not only did he give Chitkara students a taste of skills and techniques of French patisserie craft taught at the Le Cordon Bleu, London, while demonstrating the famous Saint-Honoré au Fruit de la Mango; he also quizzed them about their Pâtisserie knowledge and skills in the kitchen. Needless to say, he was impressed! Further, sharing a few details about his professional journey Chef Hodgett revealed that his passion for pâtisserie was there within him, right since his childhood. He said, “I started baking when I was about 7 years old! I used to bake cakes with my Mum, Nan and Aunty.” And after that, as they say, there was no looking back. The Chef also demonstrated the intricate art of cookie and Gâteau au Citron Cake decoration with edible lace, fondant and royal icing, during the live demonstration.
Passionate about chocolate and cake decorating, Chef Hodgett feels that in no other field of the food industry do art, science and technique combine so beautifully as in pastry and baking. He went on to explain how Pastry is more of a “science demanding patience and detailed understanding of ingredients”. Elaborating further, he said, “A cuisine chef can add salt or pepper if the dish falls short – fix it. However, in the case of pastry, if something goes wrong, the whole thing gets discarded and you start all over from scratch, which at times can get frustrating. So, pastry is more of a science. You need to have more patience and understanding of what you are doing with your ingredients.” Chef Hodgett revealed that he prefers and loves to use “local – and seasonal ingredients” in his recipes when he is travelling to other countries. At Chitkara University, he picked Saint-Honoré au Fruit de la Mango for live demonstration as the recipe calls for Mangoes as its key flavour and ingredient.
As a message to the aspiring chefs of Chitkara School of Culinary Arts, Chef Hodgett, said, “Remember what you have learnt back at culinary school. Work hard, focus – and always enjoy your work!” Keep smiling. Happy cooking! concluded the Chef.
Sharing her thoughts on the session, Hon’ble Dr. Madhu Chitkara, Vice-Chancellor, Chitkara University, said, “Chef Matthew Hodgett is a powerhouse of experience and expertise in training and educating Chefs from around the world – imparting the key skills of tomorrow and how to best deliver them! His session gave our students a quality international learning experience while preparing them for the world of culinary business with confidence.” She further added, “At Chitkara University, it is our continuous endeavour to prepare our students for the world of work. Keeping in mind the dynamic job market, our programs are tailored to provide the students with in-depth knowledge, soft-business skills and career-ready competencies that are sought after by employers’ world over. Such highly enriching sessions, comprehensive theoretical knowledge along with practical hands-on experience from the best in the industry will surely prepare our students for a rewarding career in dynamic and exciting industries of hospitality, tourism and catering.”