Waitrose patisserie consultant Will Torrent recalls Desborough days

Waitrose patisserie consultant Will Torrent recalls Desborough days

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James Preston

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Waitrose patisserie consultant Will Torrent recalls Desborough days

Just over a decade ago, an ambitious young Desborough College pupil was called into the office of one of the world's most renowned chefs.

A 15-year-old Will Torrent had just completed at a week of work experience at the Fat Duck in Bray and before him sat Heston Blumenthal.

The Michelin-starred chef was not there to tell him off, like Will feared, but had simple words of advice:

"The only person that's going to stand in your way is you."

With those word's ringing in his ears, Will set about to achieve his dream of becoming a chef, going on to represent his country in international competitions, achieve widespread acclaim for his pastry and patisserie work and in April, aged just 26, publish his first book, Patisserie at Home.

The young chef, who grew up and still lives in Iver, has come a long way since his Desborough days but the school, in Shoppenhangers Road in Maidenhead, played a key part in his development.

"I remember being at school in year seven or eight when I decided that I wanted to be a chef," he said

"A lot of my mates were academics which made it occasionally quite difficult but I found out what my thing was.

"Working in an apron in a food tech class wasn't the street thing to do but I wanted to do it."

After leaving Desborough, Will went on to achieve a first-class degree in culinary arts management at the University of West London in Ealing and, after a stint with Bachmanns Patisserie in Surrey, he secured a lucrative position as a patisserie and pastry consultant with Waitrose.

The role, which saw him reunite with Blumenthal, has seen him help develop products and recipes for stores around the country and, with his new book, Will is keen to show the public that pastry is nothing to be feared.

"What's really lovely to see is people on Facebook and Twitter posting pictures of my recipes," said Will.

"My thought is that anyone can do it with the right tips and tricks. My job was to take the fear factor out of desserts."

Since leaving Desborough, Will has returned on several occasions and has a clear message for pupils, inspired by the words he was once told.

"Let children follow what they want to be and what they are good at," he said.

"If you follow what you believe in there's no stopping you."

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