True Character: Robert Jacob, pastry chef at the Dylan Hotel

I haven't always been a chef . . . I was once a fashion designer working between London, Paris and Milan.

When I was a fashion designer, I was known for . . . glamorous evening gowns, impeccable tailoring and the very much sought after Little Black Dress.

The challenges in designing a glamorous dress and creating a beautiful plate of food are similar . . . both have to be thought provoking, with understated elegance, sensuality and good looks.

Retraining as a chef was . . . challenging but exciting as it allowed me to channel my creativity into a new industry that fascinated me.

As a chef I have worked with . . . Ross Lewis from Chapter One and Paul Kelly, head pastry chef at The Merrion.

And the person who has influenced me most is . . . Ross Lewis. I like the way he cooks, concentrating on clean flavours using the best seasonal produce.


I also like his approach to presentation; it is devoid of gimmicks and pretension.

I teach and give masterclasses . . . and it gives me great satisfaction in instilling confidence in people to go home and prepare with ease with what I have taught them.

The food I most like to cook and eat myself . . . is Thai or Mexican.

It gives me a buzz when . . . my guests polish their plates and appreciate the effort I have put in.

The best advice I've ever been given is . . . go for it. Better to have tried than not to have tried at all.
If I wasn't doing this, I would still be . . . a designer creating clothes that make women look and feel fabulous.

When I am not working . . . I have my head buried in books. I have two or three on the go at the same time and one or two are always about food.

My favourite restaurant is . . . Ferran Adria's Tickets in Barcelona.

My dream dinner guests would be . . . Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Bette Midler, Nigella Lawson and Trish Deseine.

And I would cook them . . . a hot and spicy Mexican feast with tequila.

Five things I always have in my la rder are . . . plump juicy lemons, chillis, goose fat, Gruyère and lardons.

But if I only had a tenner to go shopping with . . . I would get the ingredients for a hot chilli con carne.

My ideal day off is spent . . . gardening and getting my hands dirty.

I really care about . . . my wife and my dog Calypso.

I often imagine myself . . . having dinner with Ferran Adrià and Heston Blumenthal.

No t many people know this about me . . . I began my career training to be a dentist.

My guilty pleasure is . . . vanilla ice cream on sticky toffee pudding.

In conversation with Marie-Claire Digby

Robert Jacob works at the Dylan Hotel, Dublin 4. For information on masterclasses, see