Meet Bethanie Dove

Meet Bethanie Dove: Contestant of the UK & Ireland Junior Chocolate Masters, Commis Chef at the Savoy, London and National Bakery School student.

Bethanie Dove - UK&Ireland Junior Chocolate Masters

Where did it all start? How did you fall in love with cooking, pastry and chocolate?

The love of food, baking and chocolate has always been the heart of the Dove’s family home. Since a young age my family has always congregated in the kitchen or around the dining table, this is where family discussions of the food, baking and developing new flavours inspired me to continue this as a profession. My passion for chocolate continued to grow while studying at The National Bakery School, which led to my first job in the industry at Kennards Chocolatiers.

What or who is your greatest source of inspiration?

There are many sources of inspiration and this is very difficult to narrow down to one source. For extraordinary inspirations, flavour experimentation, science and gastronomic experience; Heston Blumenthal is top of my list. However, over the past couple of years, I have been inspired by non-culinary techniques for example Instagram and craft idea videos. This makes me think outside the box and try ‘out the box’ methods to see if they can be recreated or applied to chocolate.

What has been your favourite culinary creation so far?

Throughout my studies at The National Bakery School, I have been affiliated with the Alliance of Bakers, Students and Trainees - ABST. I have continued to apply my creative creations into the Callebaut Chocolate Egg category (sponsored by Callebaut) to develop my skills and flavour combinations. Last year I created a honey nougat layered with a lemon pate de fruit and topped with a honey ganache hand dipped in Cacao Barry Extra-Bitter Guayaquil. The combination of the honey and lemon notes balanced with the bitter chocolate gave a new dimension and appealing snacking bar. 

What motivated you to enter the Junior Chocolate Masters competition?

During my second year of studies, I was motivated to enter as many chocolate competitions and work in different sectors of the chocolate industry. At the same time I was asked by Barry Johnson to assist him at the World Chocolate Masters 2018. As I helped Barry through the preparations, I gained a lot of experience and knowledge which introduced me to the competition world. I was then given an opportunity to watch the World Chocolate Masters live and see the amazing things created by all of the contestants around the world as well as being able to attend the Coupe de Monde de Patisserie Final in Lyon. The use of techniques and flavours was truly inspiration and made me more determined to enter the Junior Chocolate Masters 2019. 

What does the theme “ Thriving Nature” evoke to you ?

With TV documentaries about nature becoming more popular, awareness of the planet and its limited resources has increased. It is devastating to see the effects the human race is having on the planet. When I picture thriving nature, I in-vision harmony between plants, animals and humans. It is incredible to see nature thriving remarkably when humans are removed from the picture, for instance, abandoned buildings which are reclaimed back by nature and how plants flourish without human interference.

How are you preparing for the competition?

It has been a challenge juggling my final year at University, starting a new job and preparing for the Junior Chocolate Masters competition. I have been taking inspiration from everything around me and advice from my mentor and head chef.

In the limited time I have dived into the deep-end, tackling the majority of the designs and techniques the past couple of months. Although I would have preferred to tackle each task separately, I have found that working on all designs at once to ensure the theme is harmonious across all elements of the competition. Thus, it has been the most effective way in progressing and learning.

What is your favorite Cacao Barry chocolate? Why?

It is very difficult to choose one type of chocolate from Cacao Barry as there is a variety and with different taste preference. For an everyday chocolate with depth of flavour and pleasing to the palate would be the Zephyr Caramel. However, for more refined, delicate and impactful chocolate; I would choose the Madirofolo due to the smoothness of the cocoa and underlying notes which creates a depth of flavour for any occasion from dinner parties to the everyday desserts.

Any ambition for the future you'd like to share with us?

I have always believed in giving back to the community. I have recently been volunteering at colleges and giving as much as possible back to the community. I was once told by my lecturer that one way to develop and continue to learn is by either volunteering in the sector or to write a book. Given that I have just completed my dissertation on flavours and how people perceive flavours, I will give the typing a break. Eventually I would like to travel to different chocolate cultivation regions around the world, experience new cultures and flavours to be incorporated into future projects.

Bethanie Dove - UK&Ireland Junior Chocolate Masters Dessert
Bethanie Dove - UK&Ireland Junior Chocolate Masters Showpiece
Bethanie Dove - UK&Ireland Junior Chocolate Masters Bonbon