The Kitchin Group's executive pastry chef, Chris Turnbull, is challenging you to make his beautiful desserts at home

“Tom (or Chef, to me) is very supportive,” says Chris Turnbull, executive pastry chef at The Kitchin and co-owner of new business, Desserts at Home.“He is more than happy for me to create this company on the side, as long as it doesn’t interfere with Kitchin life, which it doesn’t. He supports our little company and I’m sure he’s proud of what we have created”.

Chris Turnbull portrait
Chris Turnbull portrait

While on furlough from the day job, from the end of March until the beginning of August, Turnbull and his wife, Nicola, decided to set up their pudding business.

It’s very much a family affair, with Chris sharing his favourite desserts from a 19 year career, and Nicola looking after the accounts and design.

In times like these, it’s sensible to have a Plan B.

Rhubarb dessert

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“We fought in case restaurants didn’t open again. To create a potential income for the family if the worst case scenario happened”, he says.

Desserts at Home offers kits, for two or four people, from a selection that includes fine-dining versions of favourites like sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice-cream, blueberry and lime pavlova, strawberry mille feuille, caramel shortcake, and lemon curd mousse with Yorkshire rhubarb and shortbread.

Their ingredients are sourced from local suppliers and these might include ethical and organic vanilla pods from Glasgow’s Vanillaism, blueberries from East Seaton Farm in Arbroath, and strawberries from Briarlands Farm in Stirling.

They also do all the weighing and measuring for customers, and provide an instructional video, recipe cards, and any extra accessories, like grease-proof paper, piping bags or disposable tart moulds, that people might not have in the kitchen (or be able to grab from the corner shop).

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Strawberry mille feuille

Presumably, if you follow all the instructions correctly, you end up with something that looks as impressive as the photographs of Desserts at Home’s creations.

Chris is now back to work at the Kitchin Group (though it’s temporarily closed, due to covid restrictions), but is managing to juggle his day job, as well as two children, alongside the fledgling business.

The orders just keep coming in. Although they initially created just 50 kits, they’ve now sold around 1000, and their delivery radius of ten miles has extended to orders nationwide, thanks in part to their WoolCool insulation kit. At first, they were working from their home, which had become a “behind-the-scenes disaster zone”, but now they have their own headquarters and production unit so they can take it to “the next level”.

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So, who are all these customers?

Panna cotta dessert

“I’ve been amazed by the clientele”, Turnbull says. “We have orders from single guys in their early twenties, pals who are competing with each other and couples looking to make their partner a treat. Some of them are huge foodies and want to know how to make the things they see when they go to restaurants. Others are desperate to use the kits for dinner parties but sadly still can’t”

Get practising now, for all those dinner parties in the hopefully not-too-distant future, when covid is a distant memory.

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Caramel shortcake

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