Spotted at the Cowbridge Food Festival was Rob Hindle. Julia Wu interviews him to find more about the best Welsh pâtisserie..
La Crème is a Welsh pâtisserie specializing in goodies like Cowin Lush Cheesecakes and Frangipane mince pies alongside traditional cakes and desserts. Located in Port Talbot, it is run by the Hindle family, lead by Sian Hindle. The 2007 British Bakery Awards named Sian Hindle as one of their top three pâtissiers in the UK, making her arguably the best pâtissier in Wales. Her son, Rob Hindle, is a first year who studies Management and Accounting at Cardiff and luckily works for La Crème.
What’s it like growing up as the son of a pâtissier? Did you eat cake all the time?
Cakes were great, but it was a lot of hard work. I have been working since I was 10 years old. I started just with doing a bit of sweeping for ski money. Last year, I had to bake thousands of bread puddings by hand in 10kg batches.
How did your mum become the best pâtissier in Wales?
Well, she just entered a contest [British Baking Industry Awards] really. Going in, we weren’t expecting anything because the competition was really tough. All of us ended up being pleasantly surprised. She did something she quite liked and it worked out well.
Do you get to go to a lot of food festivals?
We only go to the big festivals and local ones like Cowbridge just so people don’t think we are a corporate company or anything. We focus on catering and supplying places like the Millennium Centre and the Welsh Assembly. We went to The Great British Cheese Festival and I know we are definitely going to go to the Cardiff International Food Festival and the Royal Welsh Show next year.
What are the most popular desserts at La Crème?
Well, everything is popular. I have to say our French pâtisseries really stand out. We were at a food faire around a year ago and brought our small cheesecakes and individual cakes. Have you noticed that places like M&S Simply Food and Tesco’s have been selling these small desserts? I think we were one of their inspirations. Desserts are really trending towards small, delicate, eat-at-teatime things: pâtisseries, macaroons.
Did you come to uni for Management and Accounting because you want to run La Crème someday?
I really want to make my own mark on the world. La Crème is my parents’ business. They have no expectation for me to come back and take over the business, but I will always be around to help them out. Everything I learned from them like independence, a work ethic, and baking skills will translate in the future.
Is it hard to balance school and work as a first year?
My parents have always allowed me to prioritize my education because they know that will impact my future. I really only work when the pâtisserie needs my help. December is a busy month of us– we already have 30,000 pie orders.
If you had to choose one dessert, what would it be?
There are so many! Give me some time…Toffee pudding, warmed up a bit with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. No, chocolate fudge cake.
Words and photos: Julia Wu