In an industry overwhelmingly dominated by men, Smita Grosse has smashed through the (sugar) glass ceiling to be selected as the first female Executive Pastry Chef for Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. Helming a team of 30, multi-award winning Grosse is responsible for the breads, pastries and desserts for all 11 of the hotel’s restaurants and bars as well as some 200 events held every month within and outside the hotel.
Grosse grew up on the island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean in a household where her father loved to experiment while cooking. While studying at the Hotel School of Mauritius, Grosse spent two years interning at One&Only Le Saint Géran, after which she was immediately snapped up as a pastry commis. From there, Grosse rose through the pastry chef ranks at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, Shangri-La Hotel Dubai, Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Galaxy Macau and Fairmont Singapore before becoming Executive Pastry Chef for the first time in 2017 at Hotel Indonesia Kempinksi Jakarta.
Since joining Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, Grosse has spent a considerable amount of time researching the Hong Kong palate and the flavours that local people are partial to. “Guests here like mango, Earl Grey tea, green tea, lemon. They like flavours that are balanced and not too sweet. They prefer sponge textures to anything too moussy. They also like cakes that are colourful and look good in photos.”
Grosse regularly posts her sweets on Instagram (@smiit4u) and is well aware that for the next generation of guests and customers, how a culinary creation looks is just as important as how it tastes. “Today, being a pastry chef is not just about making delicious cakes. They have to also look great and be perfectly finished. They have to be Instagrammable.”