Stove maker appoints Michelin-trained chef

Barnoldswick-based master stove maker ESSE has recruited Michelin-trained cakes and pastry specialist Dominique Ashford to its product development and demonstration team.

Dominique trained at Michelin-starred Roux Brothers restaurants and Terence Conran’s Le Pont de la Tour. She was then head pastry chef at the Houses of Parliament and also responsible for creating stunning desserts with unusual flavour combinations for Aiden Byrne at Manchester House.

In her new role, she will work on new product development and testing, perform cookery demonstrations and host cookery classes.

In addition to continuing her work as a dessert development consultant for Aiden Byrne, Dominique also runs her own rural B&B with partner Andrew in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

In 2017, Dominique won a prestigious bake-off in Manchester to find the ultimate Eccles Cake recipe. Her winning entry – which included chocolate, cherry and stout finished with cream – beat equally indulgent creations from Lisa Goodwin-Allen at Michelin-starred Northcote and Steven Smith of the multi-award-winning Freemasons Arms, Wiswell.

Dominique struck up a relationship with the Barnoldswick-based stove maker after stopping for a coffee at ESSE’s factory cafe whilst out cycling in the area. Spotting the bank of ESSE range cookers lining the wall, Dominque immediately understood their potential for baking amazing desserts.

When I saw the quality of the cakes and loaves emerging from these amazing ovens, I had to find out more about them.

She said: "I’m used to working with large capacity commercial ovens and when I saw the quality of the cakes and loaves emerging from these amazing ovens, I had to find out more about them."

Dominique returned to do a cookery demonstration a few weeks later and was impressed with the results.

“Because of the weight and depth of the ovens, they simply don’t lose any heat, so you can be confident about baking delicate dishes like meringues, which require real precision to get absolutely right. The heat is also incredibly consistent and evenly distributed, so an ESSE really does bake amazing cakes and desserts."

ESSE has installed a new 990 ELX electric range cooker in the kitchen at Dominique’s farmhouse B&B where she will develop new dessert recipes for the ESSE cafe and hosting guests at occasional demonstrations and cookery courses.

She will also be sharing mouth-watering dessert recipes and baking tips on the ESSE website and social media. She joins an established product development and demo team that includes former River Cottage head chef Tim Maddams and cookery writer and tutor Philippa Vine.