Sporting a bleached blonde mohawk, piercings and high top sneakers, Anna Polyviou‘s chef whites are perhaps the only conventional trappings of her profession that she conforms to. A renowned pastry chef, her colourful and creative culinary creations have elevated her to the the height of patisserie.
Originally, Anna was an all rounder in the kitchen before the allure of the sweet side tempted her. “My mum is an amazing cook and as a Greek Cypriot I grew up with homemade haloumi, bread, olives, and sauces, but also fresh fish, quail and rabbit. In the end, the fun flair of pastry won me over and I still love seeing people’s reactions and excitement when they taste my crazy and magical creations,” she said.
Her first professional role was at The Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne, where she won the award for Best Apprentice in Victoria. The prize was a scholarship to travel to the United Kingdom, which led to Anna landing a job at Claridges Hotel in London. From here, the opportunties and accolades flowed. “While I was at Claridges, I won Nadell Trophy for the best dessert in the UK and the Culinary Academy Award of Excellence, which meant I could go to Paris to work beside Pierre Hermé. These opportunities all led me to the Shangri-La in Sydney where I became Executive Pastry Chef, and a few months ago I was honoured to win Chef of the Year at the TAA Awards.”
Anna’s desserts are far beyond the standard fare, with unexpected flavour combinations and experimentation hallmarks of her work. Bright colours and intricate workmanship transform simple treats into show stopping masterpieces, an experience for the eyes as well as the tastebuds. “There’s an endless stream of creativity in my head and I draw inspiration from so many different things. It’s the reactions that I get from people when they see and taste my creations that keep me going!” Anna will be sharing her recipe for sweet success at the Cake and Bake Sweets Show this month.