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Sergei, Head Pastry Chef
Vegan Afternoon Tea – July 2021

4th August 2021

Welcome Sergei! Where have you worked previously that led you to The Athenaeum?

I worked at The Savoy for 5 years under Executive Pastry Chef, Martin Chiffers who I learnt so much from – he was amazing to work with. In 2014, I moved to the Shangri-La hotel for their opening. It was another great place to work, with outstanding views. Following this I worked at a private members club for a couple of years before moving to The Athenaeum.

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

For me, my job is all about turning moments into memories. I am part of so many people’s special memories, even if they don’t know it. Whether it’s a wedding, anniversary or birthday, it makes me proud of what I do. My favourite occasion to be part of is proposals, I am given the ring and it’s my responsibility to make sure it all goes to plan!

Where do you get your inspiration?

I love to travel. Whenever I am in a different country I look at what they are doing with food that’s different to the UK and bring it back, using it in my own way. For example, in Thailand, they use lots of lemongrass and key lime which isn’t used much here. In Italy, they use lime leaves in their burgers and lots of pistachio is used creatively in Sicily. It gives me ideas of different flavours to infuse in desserts. The USA and Russia are also countries I’ve got inspiration from, my Gran in Russia told me about her honey cake recipe years ago and now that’s really popular here.

Pastry Kitchen

Chelsea Flower Show is a fantastic opportunity for chefs to be creative. Do you have plans for The Athenaeum?

Yes, I am very excited about this project. I’ll be creating a bespoke Chelsea Flower Show afternoon tea. I’ve been thinking about individual flowers and what they should taste like; so far I’m working on sunflowers, pink hydrangeas and purple sensations. It’s going to be really special and unique but I won’t say any more, you’ll have to wait until September!

What other plans do you have for The Athenaeum?

I have so many ideas, the hotel itself is providing me with so much inspiration. Firstly, I’ll be using all of the art around the hotel to inspire me, I want people to experience art through my desserts. Secondly, there’s the amazing living wall, so I’ll be using the theme of nature in the kitchen. Overall, I’m excited to create desserts and afternoon teas that people will travel to The Athenaeum for. With many venues having to buy in desserts post-covid, I’m keen to showcase that everything is homemade here. Christmas is another exciting time for me so I’ll be making plans for that soon too.

What is your all time favourite restaurant?

A restaurant called Enigma in Spain, it’s just extraordinary. They only open in certain seasons and each time they open, the whole restaurant changes theme. The food is out of this world.

Pastry Kitchen

What do you like about working at The Athenaeum?

I’ve been given complete creative freedom which is amazing. I can experiment and express myself without barriers. I am also so lucky to work with Head Chef Ian, he’s the best chef I’ve ever worked with.

Who are your dream dinner party guests?

Will Smith, Kevin Hart, Gordon Ramsay and Gino D’Acampo!

Stay tuned for Sergei’s Chelsea Afternoon Tea and in the meantime, enjoy his delicious cakes and pastries with our quintessential afternoon tea.

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