Meet Patrick Hilder
Meet Patrick Hilder Contestant of the UK & Ireland Junior Chocolate Masters and Pastry Chef at Arras, York.
Where did it all start? How did you fall in love with cooking, pastry and chocolate?
It probably all started for me baking with both my mum and grandma as a young child. At secondary school I really enjoyed cookery lessons and at age 13 I got myself a place on a Young Apprentice course in Professional Cookery where I experienced my first pastry section and I’ve never really looked back. Though my mum says that even as a toddler I was always ‘playing cooking’ be it toy food or mud pies!
What or who is your greatest source of inspiration?
My biggest source of inspiration has to be my parents as they have taught me by their example to always:
- Work hard to achieve everything in life,
- Believe in yourself,
- If you try your best you’ll always feel a sense of achievement,
- Everything you want in life will mean more if you earn it,
- Go for every opportunity otherwise you’ll never know what could happen.
What has been your favourite culinary creation so far?
This is a really hard one to answer as there have been many dishes I have enjoyed creating and been proud of. Though it would probably have to be a dish called V.P.G, which was apple with molasses, milk and oats. Or the dish that is a homage to Micheal Ferro that is just an overload of hazelnut and chocolate but in a good way!
What motivated you to enter the Junior Chocolate Masters competition?
The challenge to learn more. As the majority of my pastry skills over the years have been self taught by research plus on the job through trial and error, I saw the Junior Chocolate Masters as an opportunity to push myself to learn new techniques with all things chocolate that I don’t get to try in my everyday work.
What does the theme “ Thriving Nature” evoke to you ?
When I think of “Thriving Nature” it evokes thoughts of animals and plants living in harmony together. Plus thriving against the odds with the vast damage us humans do to nature daily destroying it in so many ways.
How are you preparing for the competition?
Preparing for this challenge has been really hard mainly due to just finding the time, as most people know chefs don’t have many hours to themselves in a week!! So my days off and every spare moment of time I’ve found on quiet days at work have been filled with researching, thinking, planning and practicing all manor of things chocolate related. Oh and plenty of tasting too!
What is your favorite Cacao Barry chocolate? Why?
My favourite chocolate for ages has been Ocoa, but recently I tried Saint Domingue and it’s probably the best chocolate I’ve ever eaten, with its flavour being so complex and dark without being bitter at all just really fruity.
Any ambition for the future you'd like to share with us?
Well my ambitions at the moment are to carry on learning all that I can and to keep pushing myself further as a pastry chef. Though one day in the future I’d love to open my own chocolate shop/bakery but that isn’t anytime soon as I would like to travel around the world a bit first trying lots of good food!