Palle Sørensen, the pastry chef who sent chocolate into space
Fascinating beauty of incredible forms, distinctive flavours and a touch of unpredictability caracterise the creations of Palle Sørensen, the Danish pastry chef and chocolatier who enjoys his freedom and loves to challenge himself.
Palle Sørensen. Photo: Rais Photography
Where does your story begin?
It all started during my schooling to become a baker when I became obsessed with cakes. I was doing one cake after another; I wanted to do a perfect cake. So I knew I had to continue my studies in pastry and I did.
How did you learn your mastery and who were your most important tutors?
I was lucky to have had great teachers during my studies, but I learnt even more through different competitions and my work. The best lectures were those learnt through my own mistakes.
What was your most important lesson?
The greatest lesson for me was at the preselections for WCM in 2011. I wasn’t prepared well enough, so I learnt the hard way that developing skills takes a lot of time and effort and that great results come only after great sacrifices.
Now you are working as a freelance patissier and chocolatier - what do you love best about it?
It is all about freedom and challenges. I enjoy the freedom of doing whatever I want and to challenge myself to do it the best I can; and then the moment when I see the reaction of a client when a piece of the edible art is delivered.
What is the greatest source of your inspiration?
I am inspired by everything that surrounds me. Things I see, things I smell, things I hear… In nature, in art, in music, but also in a supermarket or at a toy store. So I could say everything is a source of inspiration for me. Only the imagination is the limit.
The space chocolate stone by Palle Sørensen
What kind of desserts are your favourite to create and what kind of desserts do you love eating?
I like to surprise by creating desserts that look like one thing, but taste like something else. Desserts that will make your jaw drop and which will be remembered a long time after you tasted them. Also the surroundings where my dessert is presented is very important to me. For example my sweets/space rocks were served 4000 km out in space and each space rock contained a hidden message from home to each astronaut. I was so lucky that the Danish astronaut brought one space rock back to earth for me. It doesn't always have to be that crazy though. I don’t enjoy only making surprising desserts, I also love eating them. They have to be rich on flavor and surprise.
Palle Sørensen with the astronaut Andreas Mogensen and Palle's chocolate brought back from space
How would you describe your personal style of desserts?
It looks very simple, but it’s very difficult to make. I use many techniques and it has to be very flavoursome at the end.
And which was the best dessert you have ever eaten? And where?
Sadly I wasn’t that lucky to taste a dessert which would contain all the elements I wish to find in a perfect dessert. But of all the desserts I have tasted I loved best the one served at Malling & Schmidt. It contained a small element of surprise when we were told to select four herbs of which they later made an ice cream right at our table.
What about chocolate? How do you feel about this ingredient?
Chocolate is in my blood. So of course I love this ingredient. I work with it every day.
What kind of chocolate do you like and why do you like Cacao Barry chocolate?
I like chocolate that contains elements of sweetness, sourness, fruitiness and those which surprise me when I taste it. And the reason I often use Cocoa Barry is because many Cacao Barry chocolates satisfy all my expectations.
What would be your perfect chocolate dessert?
I don’t want to sound arrogant but the best chocolate dessert for me was an element that I made for the WCM: Choco cone is a deep fried chocolate cone surrounded with chocolate beans, chocolate nips and silver moss. It is served hot, but crunchy on the outside and fluid in the inside.
You also took part in quite some competitions. Do you enjoy competitions and if yes, why?
Of course I enjoy them! I have spent most of my life at competitions. It is something I know I am good at. It's like a drug addiction; it is the kick when everything turns out perfect.
And what was your greatest success ever?
My greatest success ever and the biggest moment was at the WCM when I was called on stage two times, one after the other. Once, for the world’s best praline and then again for the winning pastry.
What are your plans for the future?
My future plan is to do whatever I love to do. Chocolate, desserts and crazy wedding cakes. But also to help people around me and to promote the profession.
And your advice to young patissiers/chocolatiers?
My advice is to simply jump into it. They should participate in competitions and believe in their own ideas. They should also help and support each other. That is the only way we get better and better.