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The Masters Behind The Harrods Roastery And Bake Hall

As part of our Taste Revolution, a new chapter in the Harrods Food Halls story unfolds  the new Roastery and Bake Hall, a haven where inimitable talent and food creativity fuse together in one dedicated space. A bakery, coffee roastery and patisserie have landed in-store, each destination headed up by leading industry names. We talk to the masters-in-residence about the latest Harrods food innovation.

Lance Gardner, Master Baker, The Bakery

The Baker

Lance Gardner’s passion for baking started when he was working at The Bath Priory’s Michelin-starred restaurant: "The smell of the bread as it came out of the oven before service got me hooked." Now Master Baker in the new Roastery and Bake Hall at Harrods, Lance hopes to spread his love for the perfect loaf...

On The New Harrods Signature Sourdough...
"I have spent months perfecting the starter which is used in our new signature sourdough. It needs constant looking after and 'feeding'. It’s earthy, creamy and sour, and gives the final bread a wonderful texture and crust when baked. Working with this kind of dough is like trying to keep eggs on a table – you have to stay on top of everything. Is the room warm enough? Does it need to be mixed more or less? How warm is the water? All these things have a big impact."

On The New Bakery...
"It's make or break in terms of scheduling, planning and maintaining quality. We want people coming in every day, the way you buy bread in France. You can come in the mornings for freshly-baked croissants, then for lunch to grab a slice of freshly topped focaccia  which will be prepared right in front of customers – and come back in the afternoon to get baguettes fresh from the oven in time for dinner."

Bartosz Ciepaj, Master Roaster

"Nobody can resist the smell of freshly roasted coffee," says Bartosz Ciepaj, Master Roaster at Harrods. A finalist in the UK Roasting Championship 2017, what Bartosz doesn’t know about coffee isn't worth knowing. We talk to Bartosz about everyone’s favourite beverage...

On The New Coffee Roastery...
"It’s an immersive experience in which customers can take a close look at every step of the process from roasting to brewing. When a third party is roasting for you, you don’t have the same control over quality; roasting in-house means we can create bespoke blends, do tiny batches of speciality beans, and serve it incredibly fresh."

On Coffee...
"Coffee is like wine, but more difficult. There are so many variables – what’s in season, which farms, how the beans are stored and roasted. And then there’s actually making the cup of coffee. You need to take in lots of oxygen when you taste so you can really get all the flavours."

On The Harrods Signature Roast...
"I have updated our traditional Knightsbridge Roast; it’s lighter, but is still full-bodied and has notes of chocolate and caramel, and uses 100% arabica beans from Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica and Sumatra."

Alistair Birt, Pastry Head Chef

Helming the new Harrods patisserie, Alistair Birt – an award-winning chocolatier, no less – produces the decadent baked treats that are served in the Harrods restaurants and available to purchase in the Food Halls. Part of the Harrods team since 2016, Alistair cut his teeth at Scottish luxury patissier and chocolatier, William Curley, and has been on a pioneering journey ever since...

On Patisserie...
"We undertake a huge breadth of work – and we’re constantly developing new products. For example, last year we created two new couvertures to add to our existing two, giving us four distinct, exclusive Harrods grand cru chocolates. The new milk chocolate has a caramel flavour that comes from cocoa beans from Java, Madagascar, Ghana and the Ivory Coast, and lends itself brilliantly to patisserie; the new dark is our darkest couverture and has a roasted smoky taste from Venezuelan, Madagascan, Mexican and Ecuadorean beans. All can be enjoyed on their own, but they also work well in desserts."

On Winning...
"In 2015, I was the UK and Ireland winner for the World Chocolate Masters. My winning piece was a sculptural design inspired by Richmond Park in London, where I live."

On New Creations...
"For the opening, we’re doing a bitter-chocolate délice with crème fraîche Chantilly and an éclair filled with banana compote, banana cremu and topped with a peanut nougatine, dipped in Harrods milk grand cru chocolate, to name just a few of our creations."