‘London is the place for me’

London is the place for me

London this lovely city

You can go to France or America,

India, Asia or Australia

But you must come back to London city

Well believe me I am speaking broadmindedly

I am glad to know my Mother Country

I have been travelling to countries years ago

But this is the place I wanted to

‘London is the place for me’

By Lord Kitchener, 1948

Zachary is a pastry chef from Trinidad and Tobago working in London for the past few years. On this project I want to show his life as a high-qualified migrant and his connexions with his home country. But also his commitment and hard work to make the most tasty handmade pastries.

The largest wave of Trinidadian and Tobagonian people to the UK was in the mid 20th century, when Caribbeans and people from former British Colonies were encouraged to move to the UK for work. Among them, there were 73 Trinidadian that joined the HMT Empire Windrush, including Lord Kitchener, a calypso singer.

Some members of the Windrush generation, who have lived in the UK for over 50 years, voiced concern over their right to remain because they couldn’t provide the Home Office with the right immigration papers. Recently some members of the Windrush generation, who came to the UK from the Caribbean before 1971, had been wrongly threatened with deportation by the Home Office and lost access to public services.

“London is the place for me” will be exhibited at London Gallery West.

The exhibition opens on Monday the 13th of May and ends on the 20th of May.

The private view will be on Tuesday the 14th of May at 6.00 pm.

Address:

University of Westminster, Northwick Park, Harrow

London HA1 3TP

Zachary handwrites every recipe and keeps them meticulously in notebooks. He now has a collection which documents his career as a pastry chef. He was diagnosed with dyslexia as a young child and has found his recipe keeping to help him understand and help his dyslexia. The mix of numbers and letters with a clear and practical methodology makes sense to him.

Zachary was born in Trinidad and Tobago where his parents and sister still live. When he goes home, as important as seeing his family are the tastes of home: the rum from the company his father works for. He also enjoys visiting cacao plantations to find flavour inspiration for his future creations in the kitchen.

He has to arrive to work for the first shift so early that the tube isn’t even open yet. Living in Hackney, the easiest way is to take the bus. For these early morning journeys, Zachary saves the letters from his family to read en-route. In a digital and fast-paced age, these quiet mornings hearing news from his loved ones are an antidote to the chaos of London life.  Sometimes, however, it’s not quite so peaceful: small acts of prejudice often occur on these journeys and highlight that society is not as respectful of multiculturalism as we thought.

He often travels and works when the most of the city sleeps. The bus journey goes from the morning emptiness of Kingsland High Street to Belgravia. At this hour, both are united in their quiet and lonely streets but later, the places are the complete opposite of each other: Hackney with its bustle and markets and Belgravia with its obvious wealth and fancy pastries.

As soon as he starts an early morning shift in an empty kitchen, it quickly becomes a busy place. Industrial ovens don’t stop beeping and timing is everything. It’s a speedy process to do the final steps to brioches, croissants, pains au chocolat, or hot cross buns, before the clients start to arrive at the shop at 8am and the first deliveries are packed.

Daily, there is a careful step-by-step process to make the pastries by hand. In the London kitchen he is surrounded by pastry chefs from all over the world, covering the globe from Colombia to Italy. Being British is actually unusual here.  For the pastries, he uses ingredients from all over the world. They themselves represent the multicultural mix of both the kitchen and London. There’s a pastry for everything moment. Whether you’re celebrating a 90th birthday, a new house or simply want something sweet to finish off a busy day.

Zachary is now learning to make chocolates, where his creativity blooms to its best. He gets inspired by the finest cocoa, produced in Trinidad and Tobago, which is considered among the best in the world. The finished chocolates include such flavours as, Aleppo and vanilla white ganache, Mango, lime caramel bon bons, Kalamansi caramel bonbons and Salted tahini caramel bonbons.