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In Conversation With: Pastry Chef Aaron Rawlings

Join our conversation with Aaron Rawlings – The Greenbank’s pastry chef. Influenced by simplicity and ingredient-driven cooking, Aaron returned to The Greenbank after 17 years – allowing him to find the perfect balance between work and family life.

Can you tell us about where you grew up and how this may have influenced your career and ethos to Cornish provenance?

I grew up in Truro – a place where my culinary journey began when I started working at a local butcher’s shop. It was there that I was lucky enough to have crossed paths with a few chefs who would shape my future. Their influence led me to a fortunate opportunity—a chef apprenticeship at The Greenbank.

Since then, Falmouth has been the backdrop of my career. Working in the hotels across Falmouth, I found my niche in the pastry section and fell deeply in love with it. Each day brought new possibilities for creativity, allowing me to showcase my artistic flair with every confection crafted.

When did you join The Greenbank and what prompted your move there?

I joined The Greenbank almost a year ago but it’s funny – I actually started my career here 17 years ago. So when the opportunity came up for me to return, I jumped at the chance.

Is there anyone or any particular moment that got you into cooking and led to you becoming a chef?

When I was in school, I had the chance to go to college in my last year to study catering. When I was there I took a real interest in the dessert side of cooking and haven’t really looked back since. I would learn something new every day and I would then spend the following weekend baking at home to iron out the kinks and teach myself.

How would you describe your style of cooking and have you been influenced or inspired by anyone, either through family or other chefs?

I would have to say the most inspired chef for me would be Johnny Iuzzini – an American pastry chef. His books are so full of character. In the way he would approach his ingredients, breaking them down to miniature desserts in four or so different ways.

My style of cooking has changed over the years. I once went though a stage of having ten or more elements on a plate. Which was a lot of fun, but made the dishes very complicated. Now I find my style far simpler. Where less is more – letting the ingredients talk for themselves.

Do you have a favourite dish and why?

I wouldn’t say I have a favourite dish, but I’d definitely single out rhubarb as my favourite ingredient, especially forced rhubarb. The colour is amazing and the flavour so unique. You can do so much with it and it definitely holds some nostalgic charm for me, as I would always have those rhubarb and custard sweets in my childhood.

What is the best Cornish delicacy?

I’m a sucker for a good old saffron cake.

Describe what food means to you in three words.

Elegant. Balanced. Emotional.

And finally… Why The Greenbank?

I mean, I started my career here. And now I’ve got a young family, I can have that work life balance and enjoy life, finding time to watch my daughter grow up. So being back at The Greenbank as their pastry chef is a dream come true to me.

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