Are you more scientist than chef?
I am a combination of a pastry chef, artist and scientist. There is certainly an element of science that I use and I love that aspect of patisserie. Understanding ingredients and knowing how they complement each other and react with one another is a fundamental principle of this craft.
Why is the art of patisserie so much harder than regular cooking?
I don’t believe it is harder, it is just more precise. They are two very different jobs. In patisserie, you can specialise in chocolate pastry, wedding cakes, doughnuts, desserts (and more) or you can be an all-rounder. I also think there is an element of creativity that you don’t always see in cuisine. The pastry industry is constantly changing and evolving, so you must be able to adapt very quickly and you can’t be afraid to push the boundaries.
The two MasterChef contestants both stumbled with your three fruits creation – did you set the bar too high and what were they doing wrong?
The bar is meant to be high, it is the MasterChef finale after all. I think they both did an amazing job considering the challenge. There are techniques in those recipes that a lot of pastry chefs have never attempted. When devising the challenge, I originally started with four fruits, but I think that would have tipped them over the edge! They weren’t doing anything wrong specifically – it was a hard task and time wasn’t on their side. I’m really excited to see what the future holds for both.
What was the first sweet creation you made?
The first sweet creation I ever made was a chocolate cake that I baked with my best friend at the time. We were around eight years old and instead of using a cup of flour, we added a cup of bi-carb soda, which resulted in a cake that exploded and a strained relationship with her mother. Luckily, I persisted!
Describe your relationship with chocolate?
I absolutely love chocolate and that’s what inspired me to open Savour Chocolate and Patisserie School. Chocolate is such a versatile ingredient to work with and the opportunities for creativity are endless. Teaching people who attend my classes brings such a sense of satisfaction and I find real joy in showing them how to work with chocolate and the types of products they can create from it.
What’s your favorite chocolate flavour pairing?
There are so many exciting and unexpected flavour combinations however I love classic flavours with chocolate such as cream, vanilla, raspberry, hazelnut, caramel and passionfruit.
Master Kirsten’s ‘Three fruits’ recipe for yourself here.