strength award-winning pastry Chef Dean Gibson explains why KitchenAid is the workhorse chefs just canâ€™t do without. interview: ruth devine
Dean at work on a sweet creation: the bricks (drilled and then sanded back) and flower (blast frozen and then sprayed with red cocoa powder) are all made of chocolate!
Q& A DEAN GIBSON Chef, teacher at Hunter TAFE, Newcastle, NSW Where does your passion for patisserie come from?
I wanted to get out of school! I enjoyed cooking so my dad got me an apprenticeship at the local bakery in Newcastle when I was 14 and it went from there. The real passion hit when I was 19 and I realised just how much I enjoyed the creativity involved. Now I’m obsessed. Tell us about being a judge on MasterChef Australia?
It was cool! It was really interesting to see behind the scenes, and I was surprised and impressed by the quality of the work the contestants produced. From a teaching perspective it was great to see how much people can learn when under extreme pressure, the complex techniques and processes they were quickly able to master. You’re using KitchenAid Commercial Stand Mixers as part of Team Pastry. How are you finding these measure up to the exacting standards required?
We’ve been using them in training, and they have good balance when loaded up, they’re stable even with high volumes of mixture, and they’re really quiet! But what everyone is talking about is the whipping technique. This is very important for pastry chefs, and the KichenAid is very different from every other machine I’ve ever seen. It holds the mixture in as it whips, so it doesn’t push it up the sides like other mixtures, which means you get a much better, more even result. You were Adriano Zumbo’s mentor, but who influenced you?
Leon Bailey from Adelaide, Neil Perry, and Brisbane’s Brett Noy have all inspired me. What has been your greatest culinary challenge so far?
The Asian Pastry Cup held in Singapore in April 2012. We won with a chocolate sculpture of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. As Team Pastry Australia coach, that was my first international win and gave us entry into the Coupe du Monde to be held in Lyon in January. It’s the pastry equivalent of the Olympics and the five-person team trains like any other elite group of athletes. We’re currently putting in over 30 hours a week on top of our day jobs. Bring it on! Photography by: Shane Williams
It’s the start of another busy day at work. What gets you excited?
Chocolate! It’s my thing. I love working with it, sculpting it and seeing how far I can push it. That’s why I love competing. Competition incubates innovation. There’s a fire in the kitchen. Which piece of equipment would you save from the flames?
My KitchenAid Commercial Stand Mixer. No contest. It’s such a tough machine, a real workhorse. And it doesn’t matter what task you throw at it, it still goes on.
“it’s the pastry equivalent of the olympics and the fiveperson team trains like any other elite group of athletes.”
* Couverture chocolate has to be tempered before using, otherwise you’ll lose out on shine, set and snap. In short, not tempering chocolate is a disaster! * Get some training. For all the YouTube tutorials you can watch and the books you can buy, there’s nothing like getting some hands-on experience by learning the skills involved from someone who really knows what they’re doing. * Choose the best chocolate you can afford with the highest cocoa percentage. The higher cocoa content makes chocolate easier to temper and it’s healthier, too, as it will have less added sugar. Go for at least 70 per cent cocoa.
Under pressure Competitors at the Coupe du Monde will have to produce 24 desserts, three complex cakes and three ice-cream cakes – all in just seven hours!
4 0 0 kg
Heavyweight competitors Team Pastry Australia, sponsored by KitchenAid, certainly doesn’t travel light when it’s competing around the globe. Dean estimates they freight 400kg of equipment.
Photography provided by: Matthew Venables
Winning the Asian Pastry Cup with Justin Yu and Andre Sandison.
Choco-holic: Dean’s top 3 tips for cooking with chocolate