My West London Life

Maria Mayerhofer


Maria Mayerhofer runs baking classes in a specially designed baking lab in London’s St John’s Wood. She talks about growing up in Denmark, running after her kids and the possibilities with pastry

Did you grow up with home-baked bread? Who sparked your love for baking?

Yes, my mother would bake bread for us every week. She made these small rye buns that we would bring to school as a packed lunch. My mother and grandmother sparked my love for all things baked!

What was your childhood in Denmark like?

Denmark is a wonderful place to grow up. I’m the youngest of three kids – I have two older brothers, which made me a tough cookie. My mother worked evening shifts at the hospital so she was always home when we came home from school. Most afternoons she would bake bread, which we would eat warm with butter and jam – yummy!

What was it like studying with master baker Andrew Whitley?

He is a very talented and passionate baker – a great inspiration. He gave me the confidence to start out on my own.

What brought you to London?

I moved to London 11 years ago to do an MA in International Business.

Macaroons are notoriously difficult to make. You must have had an impossible-to-teach student?

They are very tricky to make and don’t always turn out perfect, but we have a fairly foolproof recipe that we use at the baking lab so there haven’t been any disasters yet.

You started running classes from your own kitchen in 2006 and moved into your lab in 2011. What has been the biggest challenge growing your business?

Finding the right people to work with. I feel very privileged that I can choose the people I work with but at the same time it is really hard to hire when you are such a small team.

Where can we find you locally when you’re not in your lab?

In West Hampstead, running after my toddler and pushing my daughter in the buggy.

What’s been your most memorable meal?

Dinner at the River Cafe with my husband pre kids.

Where do you recommend for afternoon tea in London?

The Landmark London by Marylebone station.

How do you keep fit and healthy?

I dream of taking Pilates classes but the reality is that running after my kids keeps me fit.

What’s your indulgence?

Dark chocolate and coffee.

What are you currently reading?

The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak.

What’s the most unusual bread or pastry you’ve discovered on your travels?

The beauty of bread and pastry is that the possibilities are endless. Once you have mastered the basics you can create all sorts of wonderful things in your own kitchen; no need to travel, though of course travel is brilliant for inspiration.

Wheat, spelt or rye?

Rye is the best.

Learn to cook classic Italian during Bake with Maria 2016 Tuscan cooking holiday. Guests will stay in  Villa Boccella and learn to make classic Italian breads, dishes and desserts that can be recreated at home. Included in the trip is a wine tasting event at the Maria Teresa vineyard overlooking the green hills of Tuscany and an evening out in nearby historic Lucca.

The Tuscany trip takes place from Sunday 1 May–Friday 6 May and costs £1,250.




Philip Hanson


We caught up with Philip Hanson, the 21 year old sports-car racing prodigy

Do you live or work in west London?

I live in Chelsea.

What’s your favourite thing about the area?

I love how local everything feels, restaurants and cafes are all within short walking distances. A Saturday market in the Duke of York Square helps establish a relaxed environment in a city that can be so chaotic.… Read more →

Markus Thesleff


We chatted to Markus Thesleff about opening his new restaurant, Los Mochis, in the middle of a pandemic

Do you live or work in west London?

I live and work in Notting Hill.

What’s your favourite thing about the area?

I view it as a continually evolving cosmopolitan village, blending local residents and businesses in a great neighborhood environment. Normally the area attracts many tourists, especially… Read more →