Jack Bowden, the chocolatier surrounded by art
Can you imagine working surrounded by some of the greatest pieces of contemporary art as well as having the privilege of enjoying one of the most beautiful views of London? Well, these are the privileges of those who work at the Tate Modern and Jack Bowden is the pastry chef at this world famous art museum.
When did you fall in love with chocolate and pastry?
I fell in love with chocolate and pastry whilst on my college work experience placement at William Curley’s over Christmas 2013. Making different flavoured ganaches and learning different chocolate techniques really caught my imagination and sparked my love for chocolate. From that point on I knew I wanted a career involving chocolate.
Where did you learn your profession and who were your best tutors?
I learnt my skill at William Curley’s where I worked after graduating from college. My best tutors were William Curley MCA and Alistair Birt, the UK Chocolate Master.
What was the best lesson you received?
It was learning how to do table top tempering from Alistair Birt and seeing the skill needed for such classic techniques.
What do you love best about your work?
I love to work with different kinds of chocolate every day creating fresh, clean flavours using a variety of natural products. I love the sense of freedom you get when working with chocolate – you could literally create anything you want or anything you could imagine.
What is inspiring you?
My main drive is to have my own chocolate shop. This dream inspires me to work hard, learn new skills and grow in confidence with my flavours.
What is your personal favourite chocolate dessert?
The passionfruit and mango milk chocolate couture which I make at Tate Modern. This uses passionfruit and mango purees combined with the Cacao Barry Pureté Alunga chocolate to create a creamy fruity chocolate ganache coated in the Tate’s very own Or Noir chocolate made at Cacao Barry’s Or Noir lab in Paris.
And which is your favourite Cacao Barry Chocolate and why?
My favourite chocolate is the Cacao Barry 75% Tanzanie single origin dark chocolate with its rich cocoa taste and the lovely floral red fruit notes.
You have recently been to Paris for a course organised by Cacao Barry with chef Martin Diez. What did you love best about it?
I love learning new techniques and meeting new people. It was great learning how to make the chocolate volcanoes with their style and elegance. It was a really interesting and creative idea.
What is the most valuable bit of knowledge you received at this course?
The best information I received was how to make the spiral dipped chocolate lollies. These were simple to create yet had a fantastic elegant artistic impact which will work great at the Tate Modern chocolate shop.
Which dessert at the course was your favourite?
The hazelnut crunch snacking bar was my favourite. Its creamy dark chocolate ganache carried through its crisp hazelnut crumble topping. It really plays on my love for the combination of chocolate with nuts.
If you had to describe your Parisian experience with 5 words, what would they be?
Exciting. Innovative. Creative. Inspiring. Fantastic.
If you could choose any pastry chef in the world to learn from, who would it be?
I would love to learn from Cherish Finden because of her creative and fascinating style. I had the opportunity to work with her during the Paris course and was captivated by her attention to detail and strive for perfection.
Do you have any particular plans/desires for the future of your career?
I want to create and expand the range of the Tate Modern’s chocolate. I use all natural flavourings in my chocolate to give a real clean and elegant taste, from fresh mint leaves to juniper berries and botanicals to enhance the Tate gin chocolate. I want to have a seasonal range of flavours and expand the number of outlets our chocolates are available at. In the long run, I ultimately want to open my own chocolate shop.