Cream of the Crop

Who knew you could get proper french patisserie in Newcastle? We spoke to Severine Rutherford from Creme de le Creme, who filled us in on what makes the perfect choux bun and her favourite places to eat in the North East.

Why did you start your business?

I moved to the North East to teach Physics and Chemistry, which actually has a lot of similarity to baking!

I missed proper French patisserie and decided I would learn how to create it. I studied in Paris under Christophe Michalak and then trained in a bakery in rural France.

Creme de la Creme

You see parallels between Chemistry and Baking?

Yes! I approach it as a chemistry experiment. When something goes wrong, for example a cake doesn’t rise you can look at the science behind why it happened and rectify it next time. I now teach patisserie classes and approach them a bit like a fun chemistry class!

Tell us more about your classes

My passion is teaching patisserie. I keep the groups small and we have a lot of fun! New classes are being added all the time and they focus on things like macarons, brioche and croissant or choux pastry – everyone loves chocolate eclairs and profiteroles. It’s a great atmosphere with plenty of food and drinks and of course lots of delicious patisserie to take home at the end!

What advice would you give someone looking to start their own food business?

I’m quite impulsive and just go for it without really thinking about the repercussions! There are going to be things you don’t like so much (for me it’s cleaning!) but it will be worth it, just make your passion happen.

What’s your marketing strategy?

I only advertise my classes through social media and word of mouth, and they have all been fully subscribed. My next plan is to develop a YouTube channel. Taking good pictures and being active on Instagram and Facebook is really important. For weddings I do some wedding fairs, which are useful too. Going forward I want to focus more on my classes though as they are my passion.

What are these delicious pastries you’ve made for us today?

This is called  Choux Paris-Brest. It was originally created during the late 1800s to celebrate the ParisBrest-Paris bicycle race,  and was shaped like a wheel. It has recently been reimagined as little choux pastry buns. It is filled with creme patisserie, praline, caramelised praline and hazelnuts.

They’re delicious!

A little bird tells me you were nearly on GBBO?

Yes a couple of years ago I applied and was interviewed to appear on the show. I didn’t get a call back though sadly!

They were probably worried that your French genes would give you an unfair advantage!

Paris-Brest Choux buns

What are your favourite restaurants in the North East?

Le Buchon in Hexham, 21 and SIX in Newcastle, Peace and Loaf in Jesmond and when it’s sunny my favourite thing is to drive along the coast to Tynemouth and eat at Riley’s Fish Shack.

Rileys Fish Shack
Pic credit: Riley’s Fish Shack

What are your words to live by?

“Food is life”. In France we say that we ‘live to eat’ rather than eat to live!

Check our Creme de la Creme on Facebook for details of classes.

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