Markus Bohr, the Executive Pastry Chef at Harrods
Harrods is famous for attracting people from all over the world. One of the attractions is the Food hall which offers specialities from all over the world. Markus Bohr is the man in charge of the Harrod’s sweet production. Not only for the Food Halls but also for the restaurants and bars in this famous department store. Who is he?
German by origin he has, before joining Harrods as executive pastry chef in 2008 worked in big luxury hotels all over the world – from Asia to United States. This wealth of international experience is a crucial point for a chef who works in a place like Harrods which has to satisfy palates of so many different cultures. We met him for this interview at the Harrods Food Halls.
When and how did you fall in love with pastry and chocolate and decided to become a pastry chef?
I grew up in my parents’ pastry shop so by default I fell in love with pastry from a very young age. I have always been fascinated by the artistry involved so this was a natural career choice for me.
Where did you learn your art?
At first in my parents’ pastry shop but even now, 35 years later, I am still learning. The industry is forever changing and I am constantly inspired by trends from all over the world. My team and I work very closely with our product development team to ensure we offer the Harrods customers the best and most innovative products in pastry and chocolate.
What was most difficult to master?
Most difficult was to marry creativity with commerciality and have fun doing it.
Who was your greatest teacher?
There are many people that have inspired and taught me, but if I should name one, I would choose Norbert Kostner, the Executive Chef of Oriental Hotel Bangkok where I learned most.
What was your most valuable experience?
To travel and work around the world, and to be able to share this wealth of knowledge and passion both with my team and customers at Harrods.
What was your greatest challenge ever?
It was being in charge of the desserts and showpieces for 25th crowning anniversary of the Sultan of Brunei at the Royal Palace in Darussalam.
What is inspiring you today?
To pass on what a lifetime in the profession has taught me to the next generation of Pastry chefs, here at Harrods.
Do you have any special memory related to chocolate?
Being genetically pre-disposed to step into my father’s shoes, I still use his favourite dipping fork to make the Harrods bonbons.
What is your relationship with chocolate?
A lifelong passion and never ending love.
Which are your favourite flavours and why?
I love complex dark milk couvertures.
Which chocolate desserts are you working on now?
We are working on the next line of products which will feature all four Harrods couvertures.
You have created your own chocolate at the Cacao Barry Or Noir lab. How is it and how are you using it?
We started with two kinds of chocolate six years ago and are adding two more which will be launching soon in Harrods. Nothing compares with the creation of desserts and cakes using your own couverture. Harrods will be in the unique position to work with four bespoke couvertures, two milk and two dark – exclusive to Harrods and created by our team at the Or noir laboratories. The stuff of dreams!
How do you like to enjoy chocolate?
Deliberate, leisurely and with time on my hands.
The best chocolate or chocolate dessert you have ever eaten?
There is no such thing – my palate continues to evolve and change; I am constantly surprised by new creations and trends so I consider myself to be very fortunate
If you could chose any place in the world to go and try some new flavours, where would you go and why?
That would be short trip – to Harrods of course! No other place offers under one roof the breadth or depth, variety or quality that we have here.
What is your greatest achievement?
And your ultimate dream?
I wish to compete in the Ironman in Kona.
What would be your final message to our readers?
Everything worth doing is worth doing well, never be satisfied with less.
Photos: Laura Lajh Prijatelj.