If you can spend a morning cooking with Serena you are in for a treat. I went to her kitchen where Serena got hard to work on creating the most heavenly Frappe and Sanguinaccio. You will find the recipes posted her very soon. I promise.
Where does your love of cooking come from?
It comes from my family.
And that’s why cooking reminds me of home. I grew up in a traditional Neapolitan family where 'cooking' has always meant something more than simply 'making food'. It was - and still is - a way to take care of people, to show them love. My father is the chef of the family. I remember him wearing an apron and asking us what we fancied the most to eat on Sundays lunches. He has learnt everything from my grandma and her secret recipes - handed down from generations, but he has always put his own twist to them!
You are now a patisserie chef ... what tempted you to specialise in patisserie?
Oh, the reason is really easy: because I love cakes and desserts! When I go to a restaurant I always keep some space for them ... I have a sweet tooth!
What is the most challenging ingredient you have worked with to date?
Sugar, for sure. When I was at Le Cordon Bleu we had an entire session of our diploma only dedicated to sugar works (sugar sculptures, showpieces, etc). It was incredibly challenging and tiring… Sugar is not easy to handle and work with especially when it’s the first time you deal with it. It requires precision and a lot of patience!
Do you have an ingredient you find makes its way into a lot of your recipes?
I would say vanilla. It’s a spice that I like a lot.
Tell us a little about the patisserie you can buy in your home town …
Naples has a strong culinary heritage - which includes pâtisserie too. You can find traditional cakes that have very ancient origins and often funny curiosities about their creation/birth. We have a lot of typical specialties such as rum babà, sfogliatella, pastiera… they are all culinary symbols of my city.
What chocolate specialties do they have?
A very typical one for Naples is the “ministeriale” which is made by the most renowned pâtisserie in Naples “Scaturchio”. It is a medallion shaped dark chocolate, filled with liqueur cream.
Hot chocolate or Flat White?
Can I say cappuccino? I am so Italian…
Share a top tip with us all ... which will help us with the difficulties with patisserie making
Mmm, it’s difficult to give you a top tip because really there are so many little tips depending on what you’re doing (in my blog I wrote 6 best tips to bake the perfect cake)! In general, I can say that patience is the best friend when baking… You really need to have no rush or impatience whatsoever otherwise things can go wrong easily. Also, always read the recipe before making a cake (even twice) to understand all the steps and then measure the ingredients perfectly. This is already a good starting point.
Where can we find your delicious patisserie?
Online, on my website - which is an e-commerce (www.dolcelondon.co.uk). Sometimes I also have pop-ups and event market stalls where you can buy them.
What are you dreams with it?
I would love to have my very own pâtisserie shop. A place where people can relax, treat themselves and be happy while eating their cakes… I dream about it. So can you keep your fingers crossed for me please?