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Getting to know Justin Gellatly

by Julia Pal

published on 29 May 2014

Justin Gellatly is one of Britain’s best bakers. After twelve years as Head Baker and Pastry Chef at London foodie institution St John, he found his new home in Borough Market, as co-founder of the Bread Ahead bakery and cookery school. London’s foodies flock to Bread Ahead for artisan bread, cakes and Justin’s legendary doughnuts, which sell out almost as quickly as they can be put out on the bakery’s shelves.

Justin shares his doughnut recipe, along with over 100 others, in his mouth-watering recipe book, Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding. An indispensable new guide for bakers, the book spans the traditional – with foolproof recipes for classics including madeleines, croquembouche and sourdough bread – and the inventive. including Justin’s signature salted caramel custard doughnuts and fennel blossom ice cream. Find out more about the book here.

We wanted to find out more about what makes London’s doughnut king tick, so we caught up with Justin to explore his foodie passions…

Can you tell us a bit more about your cookbook?

It’s a journey over my career as a chef, pastry chef and baker, told through 10 chapters of delights. From breakfast (which can be a funny meal as a baker, more like dinner, really) and biscuits all the way though to doughnuts. There’s even a store cupboard section at the end: I love to make pickles, jams and chutneys, and always keep a well-stocked stock cupboard.

Where do you enjoy eating out when you get the chance?

Well, there are a few restaurants that I love: the classics like St John, Anchor & Hope, and Quo Vadis – to name just a few. I’m really looking forward to eating at James Lowe’s new restaurant, Lyles, in Shoreditch, which opened recently.

Here at The Happy Foodie, we’re somewhat obsessed with cookbooks. Can you tell us a bit about your favourite?

I collect cookbooks and have hundreds, so I have lots of favourites but one of my absolute favourites is Jam, Pickles and Chutneys by David and Rose Mabey. It’s a great read and I love the recipes. And as you can see by the photo it is well thumbed.

Do you watch food shows on TV? Is there one you really love?

I don’t really watch cooking TV shows (I don’t have the time!) but I love the old Keith Floyd – he is the master.

Is there an ingredient you are really enjoying cooking with at the moment?

We have been using lots of rhubarb at the bakery over the last few months for jam. I have also really fallen in love with cardamom and I have been developing an orange and cardamon doughnut which is pretty amazing.

What excites you about the British food world at the moment?

There are lots of things to get excited about at the moment, like all the great micro bakeries starting to pop up. I also love all the markets popping up around the place plus the new breed of food trucks like Ben Lindsay’s Back Street Diner.

Here are just a few of the gorgeous recipes in Justin Gellatly’s Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding:


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