Christina Dale

Christina Dale

Head Baker

Graduate:
Leiths Three Term Diploma in Food and Wine

  • Copenhagen
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Bio

Christina’s huge love and talent for simple, flavourful baking and all things sweet has opened up an impressive career path, including roles within prestigious kitchens across Europe. She is currently Head Baker at Hahnemanns Køkken in Copenhagen working with Trine Hahnemann to take the bakery to the next level. Previously, she has held the position of Specialist Baker at Mirabelle restaurant where she created delights such as their famed plum and hazelnut cream puffs.

Life before Leiths

As a high school student in Bogotá, Colombia, Christina had her heart set on literature, but was filled with ambition to explore many different avenues including mastering the French language, studying towards becoming a baker, photography, communication and design, and travelling extensively. While pursuing her French language study in London, she took on a part-time Sales Assistant role at Konditor and Cook at the Gherkin. It was here that she developed a deeper curiosity around baking and scored a few hours here and there with the bakers to understand how everything was made, and which ultimately brought her to the realisation that this was really what she wanted to spend the rest of her life doing. She soon afterwards enrolled onto the National Bakery School programme in Waterloo which ended up falling through and then leading to her discovery of Leiths.

What inspired you to enrol at Leiths?

Upon initial consideration of the diploma, Christina was rather overwhelmed by the school. “I was absolutely terrified of the seriousness of the course; the uniforms were so pristine, they were nothing less than intimidating. I knew I’d like to cook, but I never went into Leiths with the intention of immersing myself in the industry as much as I have. I thought it would be a good base to have, as the name carries weight, and that I would probably not be cut out for restaurants anyway. Little did I know!” Reminiscing about her course, Christina explains “All the teachers I had at Leiths were always kind and I am proud to say that I have carried that all the way to where I am now. I’d consider myself successful if someone describes me as a kind baker.”

Life after graduation

Fresh out of graduation, Christina plunged into her first real job at Salt Yard restaurant where she looked after the fryer section rustling up really tasty salt cod croquetas and churros a la minute, before advancing over to the grill where she cooked tortillas to perfection. The next role took her to Ember Yard in Soho where her introduction to desserts initiated a keen, long-term interest. Following this she joined the pastry team at Murano and subsequently moved to The Manor. While she loved her work in the kitchen, Christina felt she needed a break from London life and decided to fly to Tuscany to brush up on her wine knowledge and learn to cook beautiful Italian meals aside a vineyard which presented the opportunity to use fresh, handpicked ingredients. Her next chapter took place in a high-profile restaurant in Mexico City, before returning to London where she unearthed her appreciation for bread. “I spent a day at The Little Bread Pedlar in Bermondsey and met Adam Sellar, who was my introduction to bread and one of the reasons I am where I am today. I spent a year there and learnt the most I have ever learnt since I started in this industry.” From here she embarked on a steady baking path to Copenhagen and where she has discovered bread with an unrivalled intensity and depth of flavour.

What do you love most about your job now?

Talking about what Christina finds meaningful and fulfilling in her job, she explains that “I am lucky enough to be working with my closest friends. That changes the whole environment and we all present ourselves and our craft proudly and let our work speak for itself, supporting each other and letting each other fail, which for me is pivotal when bringing a team together, making it clear that failure is human and that it is welcomed anytime, whenever. That has a conscious effect on all of us and now that our team is growing, I always make sure it is one of the first things to understand from our ethos.”