Careers

Attention, foodies – this woman makes hundreds of pies a day for a living

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Hannah Keegan
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Work/Life is Stylist’s regular column about the professional routines of successful women. Here, senior pie maker Nokx Majozi takes us through her one-day diary, from morning latte to lights-out. 

Nokx Majozi is the senior pie maker at The Pie Room at Holborn Dining Room. She lives in Pimlico with her husband and daughter.     

MY ALARM GOES OFF…

At 6am, and I always snooze for 10 minutes. Then I run a bath – I have to have a bath otherwise I can’t wake up – and check the weather so I can dress my daughter for the day. I get her ready and pour myself a black coffee while she has breakfast. Just like her mum, she insists on making it herself. My husband and I work opposite shifts so he’s at work by the time I drop her at school and head to work. 

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I’M RESPONSIBLE FOR…

Overseeing a team of chefs in The Pie Room kitchen at Holborn Dining Room, where we produce all the savoury pastry for the main restaurant and the retail pies. I also regularly ‘run the pass’ in the main kitchen and oversee the lunch and dinner service with a team of 35.

I GOT MY JOB…

By going to culinary school in South Africa, but I knew I wanted to be a chef abroad. I worked in restaurants in Miami and then moved to London. In 2014, I joined Rosewood London’s Holborn Dining Room team as a chef and worked my way up to senior pie maker.  

Nokx and her team make more than 200 pies per day.

MY TYPICAL DAY…

Sees me arrive at Holborn Dining Room around 8.30am. I check my emails and the prior evening’s handover notes to see if there are any special requests for clients that day then go to The Pie Room. We make more than 200 pies per day so time is of the essence. I’m very hands-on, rolling pastry and building pies with the team or, when I have time, crafting new project dishes. The Pie Room opens at 11am so I have a mid-morning coffee with my team and run a daily briefing around 10am to make sure we’re on track with production and to see if the main kitchen needs any help before lunch service starts.

About 2.30pm, I take 20 minutes for lunch and grab something – usually a salad – from the kitchen. After that, I’ll review the ordering for the week ahead and begin working on the development of new pastry doughs and recipes. Last week, I was working on developing a mac ’n’ cheese pie, which our chef loved. So that will be on the menu next year. The final job of the day is to check The Pie Room is closed down, as the space is used as a private dining room in the evening, and that everything is in place for the late shift. I finish around 5pm.

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MY MOST MEMORABLE WORK MOMENT…

Was when we opened The Pie Room last year. Calum Franklin, our executive chef, said, “Nokx, I have this idea”. From then on, I was involved in everything from the decor to the menu design. It felt magical when it came together.

THE WORST PART OF MY JOB…

Is messing up a Pâté en Croûte or beef wellington. They can take a couple of days to make, so you don’t want to have to start over. 

Nokx rustles up everything from steak and kidney puds to lobster tarts.
Nokx rustles up everything from steak and kidney puds to lobster tarts.

THE BEST PART OF MY JOB…

Is that I still feel so happy when a diner takes a peek into The Pie Room and their face lights up.

AFTER WORK…

I usually head straight home, as my husband will have picked up our daughter by this point. Thankfully he loves to cook, so dinner is almost ready when I get in, something like chicken curry or pasta. I’ll help my daughter with her homework and then we eat dinner and watch the news together. We always read her a bedtime story. Then I’ll catch up with my husband for a few hours. I’m in bed by 10pm. 

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My Plan B: Nutritionist

Instinctively, I always wanted to be a nutritionist when I was growing up – but life got in the way and my interests took me in a different direction. I still think I might go back to it and study one day. I mean, I know so much more about food now after all. 

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Images: Courtesy of Rosewood London

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Hannah Keegan

Hannah Keegan is the features writer at Stylist magazine.

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