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Pastry Chef Devon Bax

Originally from Johannesburg (South Africa ), Devon discovered the art of pastry from his grandmother, he trained in France with a dream of learning from the greatest. After finishing his apprenticeship, enthused by this encounter which inspired him He quickly settled in and found a job with La Grande Table – Maison Chabran (Pont De L’lsere, Rhone-Alpes, France) With this experience, he developed his skills and put them to good use in various restaurants in London. During these years of professional development and settled in London. Chef Devon has worked his way up to head pastry chef at KOYN  where he is currently based.
What inspired you to become a pastry chef?
I have never ever thought of being anything else. It is a passion and something that gives me pleasure every day. My grandmother played a huge part in guiding my career and was my inspiration. Not only was she always baking something but she also iced beautiful wedding cakes and it was she who taught me how to make delicate roses and flowers made from fondant icing. It was my parents who made the decision to send me to the south of France to get professional training and an apprenticeship in a Michelin starred restaurant.
I am forever grateful for the influence by key family members who helped shape my passion and steered me towards my choice of a career. My passion was further fired by Monsieur Chabran at his restaurant where I worked as an apprentice. His  Michelin-starred restaurant gave me an excellent grounding in classic desserts, much of this knowledge I continue to draw on at KOYN with LSL Capital. I have been very lucky that my executive chef, Rhys Cattermoul, allows me total freedom to develop new desserts, and I have appreciated his inputs and guidance.

You’ve been in the industry for quite some time. Would you have done anything differently when first starting out?
I haven’t been in the industry very long at all. After my training I went back to the United Arab Emirates for a while. But it was difficult to get paid a decent wage with no experience in my field as a pastry chef and so I did managerial work for a medical clinic instead. All the while I kept thinking of how I really wanted to use my training. I came back to the UK as a commie 6 years ago now, so by standards within the profession, my rise through the ranks as commie to head chef has been a little unusual.
With regards to regrets, I wish I had always kept notes on new dishes when I was younger. I had always thought oh, I have done it a million times, I won’t forget. But as time passes, and you create new recipes, you forget about the others. I especially regret not keeping any notes during my apprenticeship. But I was young and foolish then, and at the time I didn’t see the necessity to do so.

What is the philosophy and ethos behind the food you create?
Eating should not only be a pleasurable experience but it should also be a memorable one. I like making desserts that hopefully create pleasurable memories. The dessert should have the wow-factor both in its presentation and its taste.
In addition, you want to create a dessert that never leaves a patron feeling heavy, especially after a beautiful meal.  A dessert should always complete a meal. It’s the grand finale that draws a meal to a close but it should never end in a food coma.
 What’s the latest trend when it comes to baking and patisserie? What is one food (pastry) trend you wish would just go away?
Well I have noticed a lot of guests requesting less sugar and fat. Not that I am not known for overly-sweet desserts but people need to understand that in desserts those ingredients are the bases of all desserts. You only live once so why not just indulge a little?
What is your baking style and the philosophy behind it?
The key is using the freshest seasonal ingredients and letting them shine. I always follow the less is more rule and as such it shows in all my desserts that I have created .
What’s your favourite comfort food? What’s your favourite pastry or cake or baked product ?
My favourite comfort food is mac and cheese, the simplicity of the mature cheese sauce and onion with the macaroni makes me nostalgic and think of home. With regards to pastry I just love a nice sharp lemon cheesecake. For me that’s the perfect combo as the citrus just cuts the fat from the cream cheese. My signature dish which which I’m particularly proud of is a very silky smooth plant-based panacea with the same texture and taste as the real deal. It took me 18 months to develop, but it was worth the effort.
Who or what was your inspiration to become a pastry chef?
 Hands down my grandmother. She always shared all her knowledge with me and had planted that little seed to go into baking.
 What is your advice to aspiring pastry chefs?
I would say that you need to be dedicated, hard working and passionate about food in this career if you want to be a chef, because a chef’s life isn’t an easy one .
Future Plans?
That’s a really hard one to answer but let’s see where my career will lead me, you never know. But I would like to become an executive pastry chef in the not too distant future.
Would you consider yourself as an artist? Are you inspired by artists when you create your pastries? When you create different products everyday where do you get inspired from?
Pastry is an art for me. The art of plating a dessert that you have spent months on developing deserves to shine. In Japanese culture it is all about minimalism and that what I put through in my plating.
The topic of local food, from smaller, specialized and personally known producers, is becoming more important. What are some of your local partners from whom you source?
I try and source as much local produce as possible because sourcing local is good for supporting our farmers and good for zero miles.
What would you say is the key/winning feature of your creations ?
It has to be the flavours and always trying new things that are a bit out of the box

What are the most important considerations when crafting your menu?

Using seasonal ingredients is the most important consideration while crating my menus.

 Have you ever considered being a vegan chef? How practical is it being a pastry chef?
Honestly no, because it the hardest thing to recreate something that’s vegan and still tastes the same. Don’t get me wrong there are more and more companies now putting out better vegan options but a lot still don’t taste as good as the original product.

What’s your signature dish?

That will have to be my plant based passion fruit panna cotta. It is one of the most frustrating yet satisfying recipe that I have created so far as there was a lot of science and chemistry that went into it .

Which is the dish you’ve created that you are most proud of and why?

My plant based passion-fruit Panna Cotta mainly because it took me so long to get it right. When you use plant based products you do really need to know how these ingredients work and react with each other.

Plant based passion-fruit pannacotta

Ingredients :

3 Grams Carrageenan lota
300 Grams Caster Sugar
3 Grams Agar Agar
300 Grams Passionfruit Puree
600 Grams Coconut Milk


  1. Take 300g sugar and divide it by placing 150g in one bowl and 150g in a second bowl.
  2. To the first bowl of sugar add 3g Carrageenan Iota
  3. To the second bowl of sugar add 3g agar agar. Set both bowls aside.
  4. Using a medium pot, add the passion fruit puree and coconut milk together and place over a low heat allowing the puree to melt completely.
  5. Once the puree has melted, but is still cold to the touch, add your sugar-carrageenan mix. Whisk well.
  6. Increase heat to high, whisking occasionally.
  7. Just before boiling point add the sugar-agar agar mix. Bring to boil and whisk continuously for 30 seconds.
  8. Remove from heat. Pour into moulds of choice
  9. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before use.
  10. Ideally, serve with a coconut sorbet. Enjoy!



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