How Beyoncé's baker was inspired to cook by Jamie Oliver
26th August 2023

From school dropout to star baker: Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour pastry chef credits ‘god’ Jamie Oliver with kickstarting his career after he appeared on Jamie’s Kitchen which helped poor teens into the hospitality industry

  • Grant Bird, 37, from Peckham, cooked for more than 400 people on Renaissance
  • READ MORE: Beyonce stuns in a figure-hugging silver gown as she shares photos from latest Renaissance tour stop in Tampa 

A baker from Peckham has revealed how an intervention from Jamie Oliver changed the course of his life after he dropped out of school – and led him on the path of becoming a baker for Beyoncé.

Grant Bird, 37, was playing truant from school and, by his own assessment, on track to earning no academic qualifications whatsoever when he joined a Jamie Oliver initiative at the age of 15.

After his mother entered him for the documentary series Jamie’s Kitchen, in which the multi-millionaire chef took on pupils from low-income backgrounds and showed them the ropes in professional kitchens, Bird began the ‘gruelling’ process of auditioning for the series and made it onto the show after other contestants dropped out.

Almost overnight, he found himself thrust into the pressurised environment of a professional kitchen as he joined the group of trainees preparing to work in Oliver’s London restaurant, Fifteen.

It kickstarted a career which saw him cook for King Charles and Beyoncé, on her recent sell-out Renaissance world tour. Bird now has an impressive CV and a strong reputation within the industry – with people on Beyoncé’s tour ‘applauding’ his post-Covid return to the catering team.

Grant Bird, a 37-year-old baker from Peckham, south east London, was the star baker on Beyonce’s renaissance tour

The baker is known for his lavish designs covered in glitter and an abundance of sweet treats, which have become his signature combinations.

When he took a break from the Renaissance world tour because he had been struck down with Covid, he claims Beyoncé’s 400-strong team immediately knew he was absent because they were being offered less extravagant dessert tables.

When he returned from sick leave, his signature dishes were back on the menu including what he calls ‘unicorn roadkill cookies’. 

Speaking to the Times, Bird, who claims to feel ‘calm’ in the kitchen despite insurmountable pressure, joked his style with decoration is to add enough glitter that ‘you look like you ate a drag queen’.

The pastry chef, who is known for his signature style of extravagantly decorated desserts covered in glitter, began his career with Jamie Oliver 

The pastry chef produces desserts on a large scale including vegan specialties. Pictured: A vegan peach cake

Some of his other signature desserts include avocado chocolate mousse with chipotle, in a Mexican style, and wasabi and black sesame cookies.

Although he now brushes shoulders with pop royalty, Bird reveals he is still an exceptionally hard worker and sometimes undertakes working days of around 20 hours.

He wakes up at 4am to build his makeshift kitchen in a car park at the latest stop on the tour and covers the lunch and dinner servings for the team.

At 9.30pm he begins to dismantle his kitchen, before the tour bus leaves for its next destination at around 2am. 

He joked: ‘Unless you have a cigarette you don’t see the sunlight. Luckily, I smoke.’

Recalling his time on Jamie’s Kitchen, Bird referred to the Essex-born chef as ‘a god’ and revealed the series had originally been slated to follow an X Factor-style voting-off of contestants each week, but Oliver refused to follow the format. 

Bird claimed the celebrity chef couldn’t bear the idea of getting rid of the young contestants and took the producers to task over the proposed format of the docuseries.

Although the show taught kitchen skills for all types of cookery, Bird recalled only really taking an interest in the pastry section.

He recently posted a throwback snap on Instagram showing himself when he was a contestant on the show, with the hashtag #grateful. 

Following his appearance on the programme, he continued his training on catering teams for events such as polo tournaments attended by King Charles.

He fell into catering for the stars by chance, after helping out a florist friend who was working on a Rihanna show and bumping into the head of catering.

After he told her he was an aspiring chef, she offered him work at the MTV Music Awards in Belfast in 2011. By 2014 he had moved to the US and that same year, he worked for Beyoncé for the first time.

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