Bennett, 33, was born in Guildford, Surrey, but the family later moved to Tunbridge Wells in Kent. He remembers enjoying home economics while at school in Surrey, but says his decision to become a pastry chef "just kind of happened naturally".

He studied for an advanced diploma in culinary arts for two years at Slough University, where he was made student of the year. But he found it difficult to get a job as a trainee chef in London. "Nowadays, people can just walk into a job, but in the early 1990s, it was very difficult. The only place that would give me a job was as a third commis chef at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane."

While he was at the Hilton, Bennett had the opportunity to work on pastries and desserts, and soon realised it was the thing for him. "It was the creativity of it," he says. "All the different processes amazed me. It opened up a whole new world."

After 18 months, he moved on to other five-star hotels, including the Dorchester and Hyatt Carlton Tower, gaining experience and ideas as he went. His employment also included Michelin-star restaurants. And, at the Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, he was made head pastry chef before moving to The Waldorf.