Emma Joseph meets the man with the dream job - The Kitchen's pastry chef, Noel Sheridan

From classics such as shortbread, Victoria sponge and Dorset apple cake, to gluten free coconut and lemon drizzle slices and cranberry flapjack – The Kitchen in Poole Park is a real haven for those with a sweet tooth.

Situated in an idyllic location on the water’s edge, the restaurant has taken on its very own pastry chef in the last few months, who spends his mornings whipping up around 200 sugary treats a day for customers both here and at the eaterie’s nearby sister venue, The Ark children’s entertainment centre.

For Noel Sheridan, it’s a dream come true. “I’ve got a lot of experience in all areas of the kitchen, but this is something I’ve always wanted to do,” he says. “We’ve completely stopped buying in and make everything fresh on a daily basis for both restaurants. It’s taken a few weeks, but we are starting to get to the point now where we can start polishing and getting all the detail.”

A separate pastry kitchen is currently being set up at The Ark, when Noel is hoping to take on an assistant and expand his repertoire into breads and also begin supplying other restaurants with his cakes.

But despite for the moment being rather a oneman-band, he creates an impressive array of baked goods on a daily basis.

On the afternoon of our visit, the offering includes gluten free carrot cake; gluten free coconut lemon drizzle; Victoria sponge; Bakewell slice cake; walnut coffee cake; classic shortbread; millionaire’s shortbread; chocolate brownies; Dorset apple cake and two varieties of flapjack. And the aroma is simply divine.

“We do a main body of cakes – it would be difficult to change them every day,” explains Noel. “If you take off the classics like Bakewell and Victoria sponge people will be asking for them, but we do specials and introduce a few different things seasonally.

“We are putting a bit of focus now on doing some vegan cakes and gluten free. We will probably go for accreditation with the Coeliac Society once we move to the other premises, where we have separate space.”

The Kitchen also offers afternoon tea – booking essential – with a selection of toasted mini Brioche buns, scones, fruit tarts and cakes.

Noel has had a varied career in catering, which started in his native Ireland working at venues including Ashford Castle, The Westbury Hotel and the Trocadero. He spent a year managing a restaurant in London, before moving to Amsterdam where he opened his own lounge-style restaurant, which he ran for 11 years.

He then returned to Dublin where he worked in food sales for two years, before going back into catering and moving to the UK. His partner brought him down to the south coast about 14 years ago, and he has since worked at The Tickled Pig in Wimborne and Pâtisserie Angelique in Westbourne, as well as for a local contact catering company.

But he is truly in his element in the pastry kitchen, where he recently made up a number of poppies made from sugar paste for guests at a Remembrance Sunday event. “I’ve always done it as part of my chef role, but to do it solely is great,” he smiles.

The Kitchen, Poole Park

T: 01202 742842

W: www.thekitchenpoolepark.co.uk