One-on-One with Tom Coll, Executive Pastry Chef in Burj Al Arab Jumeirah


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As a pastry chef, the goal is to not only craft delectable treats but also evoke emotions and transport people to treasured moments from their past. To hear that a dessert has successfully achieved this, invoking a sense of nostalgia and capturing the essence of childhood, is an incredibly fulfilling and humbling experience


Get ready to embark on a tantalising journey that caters to your insatiable longing for sweetness. Brace yourself as the renowned maestro, gifted in the art of crafting mouthwatering pastries and desserts, eagerly awaits to satisfy your deepest sugary cravings. With an unmatched skill for blending innovative flavour profiles, this culinary virtuoso meticulously pays attention to every intricate detail, ensuring an extraordinary sensory experience that will leave you in awe. Prepare to surrender to the irresistible allure of delectable creations, meticulously crafted to tantalise your taste buds and ignite a symphony of flavours.


What is signature pastry that you created in Burj Al Arab Jumeirah?


Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hosts a plethora of remarkable culinary creations but two particular delights truly deserve special attention. Firstly, the captivating Chocolate Flower – a masterpiece found in the enchanting setting of Sahn Eddar. This exquisite masterpiece is not only a feast for the taste buds but also for the eyes, combining artistry and decadence to create a symphony of cocoa that transcends the ordinary. Its impeccable presentation and indulgent flavours guarantee an unparalleled sensory experience that will leave you craving more. Secondly would be the enchanting Lemon Eucalyptus, a sensational creation exclusively available at the Michelin-starred restaurant, Al Muntaha. With each bite, this extraordinary concoction entices your senses with its vibrant blend of flavours, evoking the refreshing sensation of taking a leisurely stroll through a sunlit citrus grove. These two creations represent the epitome of culinary excellence in their respective domains, inviting you to a world of decadence and charm that only Burj Al Arab Jumeirah can offer.



What is the most challenging part of your job?


Crafting an iconic dessert that is truly unique and stands apart from anything that has been done before or resembles another pastry is no simple task. It requires a combination of creativity, innovation, and a deep understanding of the culinary arts. The process begins with a relentless pursuit of originality, a commitment to pushing the boundaries of flavours, textures, and presentations. It involves extensive experimentation, trial and error, and a meticulous attention to detail. The goal is to create a dessert that not only pleases the palate but also captivates the imagination, leaving a lasting impression on those who have the privilege to indulge in it. It takes a visionary pastry chef, one who possesses both technical expertise and a genuine passion for their craft, to conceive and execute such an extraordinary creation. Through their artistic vision, they breathe life into a dessert that is not only visually stunning but also offers a harmonious balance of flavours, surprising and delighting the senses in a way that is truly unparalleled. It is the pursuit of this exceptional quality and distinction that sets apart the iconic desserts from the rest, making them memorable and revered in the culinary world.


Do you find inspiration in Dubai?


As an Executive Pastry Chef, I find immense inspiration in the captivating architecture and modernity that surrounds me in Dubai. The city's skyline, with its awe-inspiring skyscrapers and innovative designs, fuels my creativity and drives me to create pastries that reflect the essence of this remarkable place. The sleek lines, intricate patterns, and futuristic elements found in Dubai's architectural wonders find their way into my pastry creations, resulting in desserts that are not only visually stunning but also pay homage to the spirit of this vibrant city. Just as Dubai pushes the boundaries of what is possible in architecture, I strive to push the boundaries of pastry-making, experimenting with unconventional flavours, textures, and presentation techniques. By blending the essence of Dubai's modernity with the artistry of pastry, I aim to create an extraordinary sensory experience for those who taste my creations, allowing them to savour the flavours and also appreciate the inspiration drawn from this remarkable city.


If we are about to recreate one of your pastries at home, which would it be?


It would be my famous Hazelnuts Cookies. You will need the below ingredients:

Muscovado: 135gr

Rapadura: 135gr

Butter: 200gr

Whole Eggs: 70gr

Flour: 280gr

Baking Soda: 2.5gr

Salt: 4gr

Dark Chocolate Drop: 150gr

Hazelnuts: 125gr


Directions as follows:

  1. Start by combining the sugars and butter, ensuring they are thoroughly mixed.
  2. Incorporate the whole eggs and salt into the mixture.
  3. Sift the flour and baking soda together, then add them to the mixture.
  4. Finally, introduce the chocolate and hazelnut components. It is important not to overmix.
  5. Scale the mixture into 60 grams portions and bake the portions in a ring mold, starting from room temperature. Preheat the oven to 210°C and bake at 200°C for approximately 4 minutes.


If your pastries could be described through a song – what song would that be?


"River Flows in You" is a mesmerising piano composition that exudes a gentle and tranquil essence. Its soft melodies and peaceful rhythm elicit a sense of serenity and harmony. It is no wonder that this enchanting song finds its way into the lobby of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, creating a perfect match with the atmosphere. In a similar vein, our pastries possess a sublime quality that can be compared to the allure of "River Flows in You." Just as the song captivates its listeners with its soothing tones, our pastries enthral with their delicate flavours and exquisite textures. They both possess a remarkable ability to transport individuals to a realm of tranquillity and delight, leaving a lasting impression on those who indulge in them.


When you are not making pastries for your guests but for yourself – what are you making?


While baking is not a personal pursuit of mine within the confines of my own home, I must confess my deep affection for cooking. Every weekend, I embark on a culinary adventure by exploring and experimenting with a diverse array of recipes. It brings me great joy to immerse myself in the art of cooking, allowing me to constantly broaden my culinary horizons and refine my skills. Each weekend presents an opportunity to delve into a new recipe, embracing the challenge of creating something unique and delicious. The kitchen becomes my sanctuary, a place where I can unleash my creativity and share my love for food with friends and loved ones. Through this regular culinary exploration, I continuously expand my repertoire and further develop my passion for the culinary arts.


What is your favourite flavour from your childhood? Do you still use it in your pastries? 


Without doubt, the nostalgic flavour of rhubarb never fails to transport me back to my childhood. As an ardent admirer of rhubarb, I hold dear the memories of my grandmother's delectable rhubarb tart. It left an indelible mark on my palate, forever associating this cherished ingredient with moments of warmth and joy. Consequently, when the rhubarb season arrives, I eagerly incorporate this delightful flavour into my creations. Its unique tartness and vibrant colour infuse my pastries with a burst of character and a delightful tang. By using rhubarb in my pastries, I pay homage to the cherished memories of my grandmother's tart while simultaneously introducing a touch of nostalgia and whimsy to my own culinary creations.


Do you remember first pastry that you ever made? What was it?


One memorable moment that comes to mind is when my mother and I were preparing a simple yet delightful pastry cream together. It was during that intimate culinary experience that I mustered the courage to share my dream of opening my very own bakery shop. In that moment, as we meticulously stirred the cream, the sweet aroma enveloping us, I felt a sense of excitement and determination building within me. My mother's unwavering support and encouragement further fuelled my passion for baking. That shared experience solidified my decision, and from that point forward, I embarked on a journey to turn my dream into a reality. The memory of that special moment in the kitchen with my mother serves as a constant reminder of the origin of my aspiration and the driving force behind my desire to create exceptional pastries for others to enjoy.



What is the comment that guest gave you – that you will always remember?


Receiving the feedback, "It's the best dessert I ever tasted, it reminded me of my childhood," is truly the ultimate compliment for any pastry chef. Such a comment holds immeasurable value and signifies a profound connection between the creation and the individual's personal experiences. As a pastry chef, the goal is to not only craft delectable treats but also evoke emotions and transport people to treasured moments from their past. To hear that a dessert has successfully achieved this, invoking a sense of nostalgia, and capturing the essence of childhood, is an incredibly fulfilling and humbling experience. It reaffirms that the passion and dedication poured into every confection have resonated with the taste buds and memories of those who indulge. It serves as a testament to the artistry and skill of the pastry chef, making it one of the most cherished and rewarding compliments one can receive in this profession.

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