MY CLUB • July 2020
It was a recipe of flair, innovation and more than a few teaspoons of charm that saw Mich Turner become high society’s go-to baker, and she hasn’t let the ball drop since. Gold Member, author, ambassador, TV presenter and founder of Little Venice Cake Company, one of the busiest women in baking takes a minute to talk
What does a day in your life look like?
Lockdown saw me focus completely on family and wellbeing. It’s been a tough time for so many, but it was important for me to try and stay structured and aim to emerge a better version of myself. I’ve recently published my seventh book – timely with so many people turning to baking – and pre-lockdown I had been working on opening an atelier in the new The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences in Dubai (pictured below) – now due to open in 2021.
Can you give us a sneak peek of the atelier?
Located in the lobby of the hotel, the shop will showcase our fantastic bakes and cakes, as well as a selection of carefully curated premium British products. There will be a private consultation room for those in want of a bespoke creation and, the jewel in its crown, a glass-fronted kitchen where you’ll be able to see the magic of the creations come to life and where we can host live events and masterclasses.
Was it important to you to make the kitchen exposed?
Having hosted Britain’s Best Bakery, I know so much of the enchantment happens behind closed doors. With the rise of social media and how-to videos, I’ve realised the magic is the process and that great sense of theatre. A glass-fronted kitchen means at all hours you’ll be able to walk past the atelier and be entranced by skilled artisans at work.
What is your ultimate bucket list journey?
The Bernina Express, boarding in Chur (Switzerland’s oldest city) and arriving in St Moritz. It’d be a four-hour trip, taking in panoramic views through glass windows and a glass ceiling as it winds along a hair-raising, mountainous single track. We often ski in the winter, flying British Airways into Zurich and getting a car to St Moritz. The idea here would be to go in the summer instead and spend our days hiking in the sunshine and swimming in the lake. The thought of mountain air after a long lockdown is so enticing.
What’s your favourite hotel in the world?
Even though I live and work in London, Claridge’s is my all-time favourite hotel. I was married here, my boys were christened here, plus I’ve celebrated all my significant birthdays and anniversaries here. I even get an invite to the Christmas party! This hotel is a unique haven – polished, welcoming and never stuffy. I love The Fumoir (pictured below), the Art Deco bar where I once enjoyed cocktails with a former client and now friend Pierce Brosnan and his charming wife, Keely.
What are some of your fondest travel memories?
For a number of years we spent our family holidays in Greece. We’d fly BA from Gatwick to Thessaloniki and take a car down to Halkidiki (pictured top of page). Greece has it all – the Aegean sea on the coast of Halkidiki, plentiful sunshine, delicious fresh food, friendly people, quick transfer times, a manageable flight time and no jet lag.
What are your top three in-flight essentials?
I’m quite a busy person so when I get on a plane I see it as the opportunity for hours of uninterrupted me time. I load up my iPad with box sets and try to go for something with a bit of cultural kudos – the last time I flew back from Dubai I watched the whole of the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. I’ll also pack a comfy pair of ‘plane pumps’ and my Smythson diary.
From the cakes you’ve made, do you have any favourites?
In my new book you’ll find the recipe for my favourites, including the Althorp layer cake (pictured below), which I designed for Earl Charles Spencer. It features layers of chocolate cake, salted caramel, Italian Swiss meringue butter cream, almond praline and chocolate ganache. Another favourite has to be the diamond wedding cake I made as a gift for Her Majesty – a white, three-tiered, royal iced cake inspired by the details on her wedding dress.
What are your favourite bakes from around the world?
I’m in love with the ale and cheese sourdough from 1066 Bakery in Hastings. The best almond and raspberry croissant I ever had was, of course, in Paris, from a little bakery in the Marais. And Carlo’s Bakery from my friend Buddy Valastro – aka the Cake Boss – in New York has these amazing lobster tails. They’re shell-shaped pastries filled with crème diplomat – which are well worth a wait in the queue.
What have been your best BA moments?
One of the last times I flew to Dubai, I was welcomed on board the new A350. It was so smart, with individual cubicles, a big flat screen and (at last!) a mirror so I could freshen my make-up before arrival. I think it may have been its maiden flight, as many of the cabin crew were so excited and eager to show us all the details of the aircraft. And I will always remember the first time I was invited to the First lounge – once you’re in there, you understand why it’s so exclusive!
What’s the best bit of being in the Executive Club?
I’m a Gold Member and until recently flew most months to Glasgow with BA for my role as ambassador of the Scottish Bakers Association. I collect Avios and tend to spend them on board for food, drink and duty-free top-ups. Plus I use the BA app for literally everything: the British Airways app tells me my account details, shows me my boarding passes, allows me to buy on board, and charts all my upcoming flights.
Mich’s seventh recipe book, Everyday Bakes to Showstopper Cakes, is out now