This feature first appeared in The Goan on Saturday.
In April, Bangkok Marriott conducted the Marriott Pastry Chefs conference that was attended by 25 pastry chefs from across the world, and Chef Savio Fernandes of JW Marriott, Mumbai, was one of them.
Savio describes the event as unforgettable and fun.
“We had to bake 300 cupcakes along with girls from an orphanage. The task was to go out into the streets in our uniform and sell these cupcakes to generate revenue for the orphanage. It was amusing to see chefs in white uniform running around selling cupcakes,” recalls the 38-year-old Chef.
Savio is Goan-Mumbaikar who was born and raised in Mumbai. He completed a course on Hotel Management and Food Technology from Sophia Polytechnic, and has been associated with JW Marriott since the last five years. Prior to this, Savio has worked with the Jumeirah Madinath in Dubai, Oberoi Towers, Taj Air Caterers, Palm Grove and Goa Marriott Resort.
Savio was born to a family that had a special relationship with everything food! He draws most of his inspiration from his parents. While his father pursued his love for cooking despite being an engineer, his mother would bake cakes on a regular basis which attracted the chef to the oven. But did Savio always want to be a pastry chef? “Yes,” he says, “My mother would bake every Thursday, which used to be a school holiday. She would walk me through the process and then leave it to me. I also had an uncle who was the pastry man at the Taj and kept me abreast of the pastry world. I’ve been good at art and craft, which I think added to showcasing my skills in pastry.”
While at JW Marriott, Chef Savio has been a recipient of multiple awards, but there’s one award he considers dear. “The Manager of the year award is very dear to me because it boosted my confidence, which later made me the first Indian Executive Pastry Chef for this flagship property.”
At work, Savio follows a strict management style. Rule one is treat everyone like you’d want to be treated. And rule two is maintain complete transparency. When not at work, the chef confesses that he is a complete family guy. “After I swipe out, I love spending time with my children and nephews. I also love ballroom dancing. Not forgetting photography that’s growing to be a passionate hobby. I used to also play football, but today I just dribble the ball at home.”
Savio is an aggressive baker who does not permit re-takes but still manages to stay patient when he’s handling pastry or fine art confectionary. His best creation and his personal favourite has been the Cointreau Gulab Jamun Brulee. “In this recipe I soak mini gulab jamuns in cointreau for five days and then bake it along with a cointreau vanilla brulee.”
This is how it looks in paper: