Quentin Bechard, the Junior Chocolate Master
The Junior Chocolate Masters winner Quentin Béchard. Photo: Laura Lajh Prijatelj
Quentin Bechard, this year’s winner of Junior Chocolate Masters moved to London from Hyères, near Toulon in South of France a year ago. His girlfriend Mathilde suggested to move somewhere abroad to gain new life experiences and they decided to locate to London because of the language and because it’s not too distant from their home. His great talent and an absolute precision in execution have convinced the jury and all the guests.
How would you introduce yourself?
My name is Quentin Bechard, I’m 23 years old. I am from South of France, from a town called Hyères les palmiers. I am currently working as chef de partie at the Shangri-La at The Shard.
When and how did you enter into the pastry world?
My eldest brother is a baker. Six years ago he started his own business and at the beginning I helped him a bit. I started to enjoy the pastry work, so I decided to do my apprenticeship in pastry working in a small bakery.
After that I was gaining experiences at a patisserie / chocolaterie called “Dominique 1888 par Christophe Chapalain”. My Chef Christophe Chapalain showed me how to work with chocolate. At the begining I hated it – I found it really hard and I didn’t understand how to do it. But after some months it became a real passion.
Pralines by Quentin Bechard. Photo: Martin Chiffers
What is your ultimate dream?
I would like to become part of Meilleurs Ouvriers de France!
What/who is inspiring you?
It is a difficult question, I don’t think I’m inspired by one thing or person, I am looking at works of experienced chocolatiers – how they work, how they transform chocolate, and later I try to do it my way. Sometimes the result is good, sometimes not …
What do you love most about your work?
The possibilities! With chocolate you can do whatever you want. Not just with showpieces, you can play with the flavours as much as your heart desires.
What are your favourite flavours?
I don’t have a particular favourite, but I love a nice balance of taste! One of my favourites is for sure chocolate!
What is your relationship with chocolate?
At the begining it was hard, I hate when I don’t understand something. But later, when I learned to work with it, it became a real pleasure and passion. I really enjoy working with chocolate!
You have won the UK Junior Chocolate Master contest. What does it mean to you and how do you think will it influence your future?
I’m really happy! It was quite hard to prepare for this competition, but it was really exiting! Now I feel even more excited about the future, I want to take part in more competitions and I hope people I met during the UK Junior Chocolate Masters will help me achieve higher goals.
The plated dessert by Quentin Bechard. Photo: Martin Chiffers
Can you please describe your creations for the contest – the idea/inspiration behind it, flavours etc….
The theme was “Inspiration from Nature” so I tried to use products which I know well, products of the terroir where I was born.
I made a lavander honey and rosemary ganache for my praline using honey from my Provence.
For my plated dessert I didn’t use sugar at all, just honey, a natural product. I made an Cacao Barry Alunga chocolate mousse, an apricot compote, a classic shortbread, a quenelle of apricot and lavander sorbet, an Alunga and honey sauce and roasted apricots from Provence.
For the show piece I created a sculpture which looked like an old bark, with dark colors, and inside a flower growing colourful and wild.
What was the best chocolate dessert that you have eaten and where?
Hard to say, I have eaten so many! But my Chef Chrisophe Chapalain is really good, probably one of his!
What is your greatest wish for the future?
To have my own business which works well, making nice quality products for happy customers and wearing a blue/white/red collar! I also want a happy familly.
You can follow Quentin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/QuentinBechard