An Evening with Harwood's Patisserie

Harwoods Patisserie – Keylink WP
Andrew Harwood and Raf standing beside a roller banner for Harwood's Patisserie

Pastry, Passion & Bake Off: The Professionals

We were honoured to be invited to an event hosted by Harwood’s Patisserie earlier this month, and it was well worth the drive from Yorkshire to Lancashire to sample their delicious desserts and chocolate creations!

Here’s everything we learned about chocolate, church spires, and a certain popular television programme about professional bakers…

by Lyndsey Hall

23 February 2024

It’s a Monday evening in February in the small northern village of Standish, Lancashire, and the village hall is packed to the rafters. Over one hundred and fifty people have come out to see a chocolate demonstration and talk by Andrew Harwood, owner of Harwood’s Patisserie, Keylink customer, and Bake Off: The Professionals 2023 runner-up. 

Joining him as a surprise special guest is his pastry chef partner from the show, Raf Perussi. The pair captured the hearts of the nation last summer with their laid-back approach to the competition, and the stunning, elaborate creations they presented, which included an edible sculpture made from banoffee and chocolate, complete with monkey decorations.  

The event has been organised by the Rector of St Wilfrid’s CE Church, Reverand Andrew Holliday, in order to raise funds for the restoration of the church’s spire. When Rev Holliday approached Andrew and his wife Sarah, who together run the patisserie on High Street, Standish, with the idea of hosting an event to help with the fundraising, the couple jumped at the chance.  

As a small, family-run, local business, Harwood’s Patisserie has been fortunate to have the support of their local community from the start, and Andrew and Sarah were thrilled to be able to give something back. 

A Delicious Demonstration

After a brief but hilarious introduction by the wickedly funny Rev Holliday, Andrew showed off his tempering skills by melting Schokinag 53% dark chocolate and using a marble slate to temper it.  

He then combined Stewart & Arnold 27% white chocolate and Ravifruit passion fruit purèe to make a ganache filling, all while talking the guests through the process in his warm and friendly Bolton accent, and explaining the science behind tempering, fat bloom, sugars and water content. 

Having polished his moulds, he shelled his chocolate bonbons and tipped out the excess, to an audible gasp from the audience. But, ever the professional, Andrew didn’t so much as splatter a single guest sitting in the designated ‘splash zone’. He then piped in his passion fruit ganache, leaving it to set, before capping off his chocolates and closing with a Summer Garden cocoa butter transfer sheet 

From the oohs and aahs coming from the audience, it was clear that this was the first time many had come across transfer sheets and discovered the answer to the eternal question, “how do you get that pattern on the chocolates?”.  

In what Andrew called “a Blue Peter moment”, trays of chocolate bonbons he’d made earlier were brought out and we were invited to try them. The combination of dark chocolate shell and passion fruit and white chocolate filling was a hit! 

A Sneak Peek into Bake Off: The Professionals

Raf joined Andrew on stage for the next part—a peek into their experience on the hit TV bakery competition last year.

Andrew started by telling us that they’d both been approached by the producers of the show in the past and the timing hadn’t been right, but this time they’d decided to send in an application and see what happened. If they were accepted, they could always turn it down. 

Well, as we now know, they were accepted, and they didn’t turn it down! 

Having become friends on a skiing holiday, the two patisserie chefs had never actually worked together before going on the show. Andrew and Raf spent the long car journeys down to London for the interviews, screen tests, and eventually filming, discussing the recipes they planned to do.  

The six-hour drives gave them time to decide who would be responsible for what and iron out the technical details of their showstopping creations. They credit this time together for helping them to work smoothly and seamlessly together under the pressure and scrutiny of the cameras. The most important thing they did was to agree that if one of them was struggling with a task, they would give each other a look and simply swap. Sometimes, removing yourself from what you’re doing is enough to stop you from feeling stressed, as Andrew says. 

And it worked a treat. The presenters couldn’t believe they’d never worked together before! 

When asked by an audience member if they felt they’d been robbed in the final, it was clear the two chefs had thought about their experience a lot in the months since filming wrapped. Andrew answered that, while he wanted to win, he didn’t feel robbed. That, for every long day, early morning or late night they spent working on their recipes and designs, their fellow contestants had done the same, and on the day of the final the other team had deserved to win.  

As humble as they are talented!  

It was fantastic to see so many people supporting Harwood’s Patisserie and celebrating a real local success story. It’s clear to see why the country as well as their local community got behind them during the competition. And during the evening, over £2,000 was raised for the church spire!  

At Keylink, we couldn’t be prouder of Andrew and Raf, and everything they’ve achieved on the show and off it. We’re honoured to supply chocolate, ingredients, equipment and packaging to Harwood’s Patisserie, and even to lend them our Mayku Formbox for the peach shaped mould they used on the show!  

If you’re interested in learning how to make chocolates, patisserie or macarons, they offer classes out of their Standish patisserie shop.  

Find out more about Harwood’s Patisserie on their website, or on Facebook and Instagram.  

Lyndsey Hall

Lyndsey is a marketing executive, writer and lover of books and chocolate from Sheffield.

Her favourite chocolate is Cacao Barry Lactee Superieure.