This brand new Norfolk afternoon tea is selling like hot cakes
- Credit: Hestia Patisserie
An ambitious pastry chef is quietly causing a stir in a rural part of Norfolk, just outside of Norwich.
On Wednesdays, Rebecca Heath (founder of Hestia Patisserie) can be found putting the finishing touches to what is probably one of the most decadent afternoon teas in the region. So beautiful and unique it’s been selling out...like hot cakes.
From glossy apples filled with Granny Smith mousse, to chunky sausage rolls, and inventive slices of cake, Rebecca’s creations wouldn’t look amiss in a top flight hotel.
The chef set up her business this April during lockdown, offering s’mores kits, celebration cakes, treat boxes and fine patisserie.
And, in collaboration with the team at the Garden Kitchen Cafe at Hoveton Hall, launched her first afternoon tea sessions in October – with diners absolutely raving about them.
Rebecca learnt to cook in London, training for three years at Westminster Kingsway College, before taking on positions around the city. But she always found her way back to Norfolk.
“I had the chance of working at Morston Hall during the summer holidays - my first experience of a Michelin-starred restaurant. The summer I spent there was a big turning point for me as a chef. I worked with a fantastic team, with Galton Blackiston and Richard Bainbridge at the helm, who helped build my confidence, my skills and realise that I had potential.”
- 1 Concerns raised over plans for 180 homes in suburb village
- 2 'No thanks or penny' - Norwich City crest designer hits out at change
- 3 Patient dies while waiting in ambulance for hospital bed
- 4 'Please come home': Family's plea to help find missing Norwich girl
- 5 A look back at shoppers in Norwich over the decades
- 6 'We're over the moon': Family overjoyed as missing Norwich girl returns home
- 7 'Calm, graceful and kind': Tributes paid to martial arts world champion
- 8 John Lewis boss bids farewell to Norwich store after nearly three decades
- 9 Shabby shed being used by car hobbyist is 'planning breach', council says
- 10 Busy Norwich city centre road reopened after crash
Rebecca's lecturers noticed the impact Morston made on her cooking abilities and she was chosen to work on a collaboration with Sat Bains, gaining a month’s work experience with the revered chef, and ultimately being offered a full-time job.
“I spent two amazing, intense, valuable years with Sat. Sat and John, his head chef, helped mould me into the chef and person I am today. It was so inspiring being around such creative and talented people and there was always so much energy! You were constantly pushed to be better, to do things more efficiently, to take flavours to the next level,” says Rebecca.
A spell in Copenhagen followed. And when Rebecca returned to Norfolk once more, she decided to dedicate her time to honing her passion for baking, spending six months making sourdoughs at Timberhill in Norwich, and seven months with Jaime at Figbar before Covid hit.
“While beginning to go back to work part-time and still being part-time furloughed, I decided to start making products for my local community from my home, also doing ‘Covid safe’ dinner parties and drop off meals at Wolterton Hall in Norfolk,” she says.
“Then last Christmas I expanded what I offered and things really started to take off. This made me think I could start to build something! I originally hoped to slowly get the wheels turning, but when I was made redundant in April I decided to take the leap.”
This summer Rebecca worked closely with Alex Firman at Hoveton’s Garden Kitchen Café, calling Alex a brilliant mentor who really believed in what she was doing. Alex was just one of many who encouraged Rebecca to wow Norfolk with her afternoon teas.
Bookable from 2pm on Wednesdays and costing £19 per person (with a £5 deposit) they really are dreamy - and made with the finest ingredients Rebecca can get her hands on. And not a soggy sandwich in sight!
“I try to use seasonal, local produce as much as I can. So at the moment the menus are wintery/autumnal with warming, nostalgic flavours that have a slight twist. I like pulling from my past, experiences I have of different countries and cultures, moments that have brought me happiness that hopefully translate through the food. December will also see lots of festive flavours. This Christmas has to be even better than usual to make up for last year so Hestia Patisserie is here to help with that!”
The November menu (if you can get a table) includes: pork and apricot sausage rolls, vintage Cheddar and caramelised onion tart, honey roasted beetroot and dill baked piroshki with whipped lemon ricotta with pickled beetroot, slow-cooked sweet and sticky short rib filled choux with pickled chilies, salsa verde and pine nut scone with The Garden Pantry green tomato chutney, spiced apple scone with The Garden Pantry blackberry jam, chocolate and orange tart, black cherry and lemon gateau opera, pecan praline financier and vanilla marshmallow, and a coconut and passionfruit dessert.
December, launching on November 20 and available until December 15, will include: pork, bacon and apple ‘pig in a duvet’, stilton, chard and walnut puff rolls, roasted chestnut, mushroom and chicken croquette, caramelised red onion, Jerusalem artichoke and chive tart, Wensleydale and cranberry scone with The Garden Pantry apple chutney, orange and cardamom scone with The Garden Pantry spiced plum jam, Baileys and caramel white chocolate choux buns, cinnamon, plum and speculoos tart, and a mulled pear Christmas tree.
Book by calling 01603 784500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca will be selling her apple and passionfruit mousses and other treats at the Hoveton Hall Christmas Fayre on December 5.