Interview - Patrick de Vries – 2017 Dutch National Selection Winner

Interview with Patrick de Vries – 2017 Dutch National Selection Winner

How did people react to your victory?

Everyone was incredibly enthusiastic! It has all been an emotional roller coaster because it’s the first time I participated in such a high-level competition. Nothing but positive reactions so far.

What does this competition mean to you as a chef?

“I’m extremely happy that I got the chance to participate in this competition. I’ve always loved working with chocolate, and building these showpieces is something that has interested me for a very long time. I never expected to be so close to the finals!”

“Becoming the Dutch Chocolate Master has opened a lot of doors for me. I get to do things I would’ve never been able to do, I’m meeting new people, ... My life did change a bit!”

“It was a big challenge to get everything ready in time! I had about 8 weeks to build up everything from scratch: the concept, designs, testing, fine-tuning… Luckily, I’m rather immune to stress and I don’t get scared off easily.”

What did you learn by participating? Anything you want to take with you to the next round?

I’ve learned that I’ve got to improve myself when it comes to preparation and planning. That’s definitely a key factor. I’ve also got to find a way to think outside the box. Everything must be better, but most of all: more spectacular than what I created during the preselections.

You decided at the very last moment to participate in this competition. How did you do it?

Yeah, that was a huge challenge! I had about 8 weeks to build up everything from scratch: the concept, designs, testing, fine-tuning … Luckily, I’m rather immune to stress and I don’t get scared off easily. I wasn’t very nervous either. I managed to stay calm because it’s in my nature.

Are you already preparing for the finals?

Though I don’t have a schedule yet, I’m slowly starting to prepare myself by looking at my improvement points. These points of critique were written down in the jury report. It will help me and my creations.

I also intend to go talk to professionals: ambassadors, professionals, previous contestants … I hope they will give me some valuable insights and share their experiences.

As a young chef, you will be competing against experienced chefs. Does that scare you off?

Not at all. It’s rather motivating to compete against chefs from all these different countries. I find it interesting to measure my skills with theirs. I’m curious to find out where I stand right now!

What’s your biggest challenge in this competition?

The biggest challenge for me will be building my showpiece. I’ll really have to think outside the box, something I haven’t done so far. That might be the biggest difficulty for me.

Where do you find your inspiration for the Futropolis theme?

A lot of my inspiration comes from the internet and films. I also tend to look at people who aren’t necessarily in the chocolate industry, like artists or designers. They can help me with the design and construction of my showpiece. To make it more spectacular, you know.

“I love how nowadays food trucks are popping up everywhere. It shows how consumers’ eating preferences and habits are changing. Food is increasingly consumed on the go and food trucks tap into this trend.”

For your assignments, you worked with Cacao Barry products. Which couverture is your favourite?

The one I prefer is Cacao Barry Mexique 66,1%. It’s a nice, fresh chocolate with a slightly sour taste and a strong cocoa flavour.

When using these couvertures, I combine different types of chocolate. I try to get to know their flavour profiles to find out which ones match and which ones don’t.  

How would you describe your personal style when it comes to chocolate and pastry?

Modern with a simple and minimalistic finish. I also notice that there are a lot of new techniques popping up. It’s important to find your own way.

I like working with fresh, exotic flavours. I want my ingredients to have a strong flavour at the base: taste always tops design. If the flavour isn’t right, you can forget about the rest.

Are there any specific trends you’re a big fan of?

I love how nowadays food trucks are popping up everywhere. It shows how consumers’ eating preferences and habits are changing. Food is increasingly consumed on the go and food trucks tap into this trend.

Also, everything is evolving. Just think about edible packaging! I find it very interesting to look into these sorts of things.

What’s your vision of Futropolis?

When I think of Futropolis, I see a sustainable city were everything is automated. There’s a perfect harmony between humans, technology and nature. You can cultivate your own food, generate your own energy … everything is completely clean.