Anyone who has seen pastry chef Geanina Ursache at work, or tasted one of her creations will know what a talented woman she is. Her prolific baking skills have won awards and are enjoyed by many around London; particularly here in Tottenham! Originally from Romania, Geaninia, along with her husband George, have become part of the fabric of the local community. Their open friendly personalities and huge range of tasty treats can be found at Prestige Patisere, the business they started together, which trades at Holcome & Tottenham Green Markets. Rachel Ho caught up with Geanina to find out more.
Photo Supplied: Pastry Chef & Co-Founder of Prestige Patisere Geanina Ursache
Where did you grow up and what did your parents do?
I was born and grew up in Iasi, the second largest city in Romania, with my three siblings and parents. Both my parents worked for the local government until they took over the running and control of our maternal grandparent’s farm from where they still work and reside and were I spent all my school holidays of my childhood.
Describe your relationship to Tottenham?
My relationship with Tottenham started from the day we arrived in England almost ten years ago. Pretty soon, I joined the pastry team at Flourish Craft Bakery. Having a local job as head pastry chef cemented my connection to our area and community. The amazing network of friends we've made here and our lovely customers that come to Prestige Patisserie make living here just like being with family. I love the development around Tottenham, especially Holcombe Market with its wonderful corridor of food providing fruits and veg from Hall's Greengrocer, the fish from Thompson Seafood, Caribbean food form Reggae Village, toasties and cheese from Wine and Rind. Our local pubs, The Beehive and Highcross, add to the family atmosphere. This diversity of cultures in Tottenham is the reason why it's such a special place to be part of.
Photo Supplied: Geanina's award winning Salted Caramel Tart
What led you to become a patisserie chef?
When I was young I was started learning all sorts of culinary skills from my mother. She is an incredible baker and cook! Luckily for me, I was spoiled with lots of extravagant delicacies and this is what sparked my desire to start baking myself. From here, the seed was sown for my ambition to become a pastry chef. Romanian specialty cakes are delicious and this helped me develop a palette to recreate what I loved eating! I furthered my skills by studying for my profession and I’ve trained and worked with amazing establishments that have allowed me to take my artisan baking skills to a higher level.
Photo Supplied: One of Geanina's bespoke cakes
Tell us about Prestige Patisserie and how it started?
Coming up with unique recipes and becoming a baker has been my goal since I was young, so we took a leap, decided to be brave and opened up our own bakery! Moving forward, we hope to continue growing amongst the network of businesses and friends that we’ve made living in Tottenham. We were over the moon when the new development at Holcombe Market gave us the chance to have our own place. Prestige Patisserie has been my dream since being a child, and with the support of my husband, George we’ve managed to make it come true!
Photo Supplied: Geanina with her husband George at Tottenham Green Market
I now have the freedom to indulge my passion. Not only can I experiment with different styles of baking, but I control the quality of the ingredients we use, and work hard to make sure we never compromise on delivering the best for our lovely customers.
As a woman, how do you think Tottenham has changed? What would you like to see change?
The changes over the last 10 years are hard to miss, and I’ve particularly noticed how many brilliant businesses have been attracted to our area. It’s inspiring, and many are run by lots of strong women I admire! I’d like to see Haringey continue to support these flourishing businesses, and continue making improvements on safety.
Favourite thing to do in Tottenham?
Early morning walks and a jog around Down Lane Park. Sunday mornings getting ready for Tottenham Green Market - it's such a wonderful gallery of different stall holders, and we’ve learnt so much from them! We love market days, as we get to meet our lovely customers and friends. Craving Coffee is always nearby for a caffeine break… we love incorporating this spot into our day out. I feel very grateful for all the choices around us. From food to buy and places to eat and drink, if you want a nice pizza or craft beer there is a huge selection to choose from.
Photo Supplied: Geanina's Apple & Walnut Vegan Cake
Anything you would like to add?
I’m keen to pass on the gift of baking, and show others how satisfying and rewarding it can be to bake your own cakes. Soon we hope to start classes, and I feel blessed and privileged for the friendship and support we have to start new ventures like this. We’re surrounded by wonderful people who inspire me every day, from our lovely friends at Wildes Cheese, to Annem from So Wrong It’s Nom.
We also recently said goodbye to a dear friend, Dave Hall from Halls Greengrocers. Dave was a huge champion of Tottenham and loved seeing this area develop. His support for Prestige Patisserie and Holcombe Market had a huge impact on where we are today. He’ll always be a part of our lives and we think of him during every milestone we achieve.
Find out more out Geanina and Prestige Patissere: https://prestigepatisserie.com/