It was not her sweet tooth that led Jodi to a fascinating career in pastry making. It was not even anything she envisaged she would do. A short notice emergency and a colleague in need brought the young and aspiring Commis Chef into the sweet world of decadence, elegance and sweet seduction.
Having lived and studied around the globe, Jodi Gillespie trained under Eric Gouteyron, who was ranked 9th best pastry chef worldwide. Jodi was also part of the Fairmont Zimbali Resort’s opening team.
Jodi, who is only 26 years old, achieved first runner up out of 173 competitors for the Hilton F&B Masters 2013, won both dessert rounds, won best regional bread for the Inter-Hotel Challenge 2014 and cooked for Michel Roux Junior and Heston Blumenthal, among others.
“While working at Le Quartier Francais, we were awarded best restaurant in Africa and the Middle East and ranked as 36th worldwide in the San Pellegrino Awards.”
“I love the freedom that the hotel industry allows, and I love the fact that it allows me to create and recreate the classics and experiment with colours, flavours, shapes and structures,” enthused Jodi.
“Being a pastry chef here at the Beverly Hills is a humbling experience. We have guests who have been coming here for 50 years. They know what they like and what they enjoyed on their last visit. Making sure I remain relevant to the new clientele as well as please our regular patrons is the most thrilling challenge.”
Jodi Gillespie might be young in year,s but she is worldly and full of creative flair. Her latest project is to create a dessert of the future for the 50th birthday celebration of the Beverly Hills Hotel which will take place later this year.
The challenge keeps the young pastry chef awake at night as she thinks of ways to combine the old world decadence with new world flavour and styling techniques.
“Working in this environment is a real honour for me,” said Jodi. “Working under Beverly Hills executive chef Tony Kocke, who is a Michelin star chef, is a true privilege. I do hope that people who come to the Beverly Hills will taste my desserts and be transformed to a place in time where sweet fantasies and splendid realities awake in a ‘dance of dessert tango’.”
Meet Jodi in person at the Beverly Hills Haute Tea Buffet every Saturday from 14h00 – 16h30 at R250 per person. It’s simply a sublime experience.