2017 WINNER POLISH & HUNGARIAN NATIONAL SELECTION WCM
INTERVIEW WITH MICHAL IWANIUK
How will you be preparing for the final?
"I’m still using my imagination for the moment. I need some time for the concept to be fully crystalized and for my thoughts to come together. I have some aspects already visualized and soon I will start putting it all together."
Flavourwise, I will be using local ingredients to underline my identity. I will also be using ingredients from all around the globe to bridge existing flavour gaps. Because Futropolis is a place where everything mingles and mixes.
What did you learn from participating in the Polish & Hungarian National Selection?
I believe the World Chocolate Masters is such a high-level competition that you simply cannot take it lightly. When taking part in this competition, you already need to know what you’re doing. This is not a time to learn, this is a time to perform.
“This is not a time to learn. This is a time to perform!”
What does this competition mean to you as a chef?
"For me, it’s a challenge. It’s the perfect way to check the abilities, skills and experiences I’ve gathered throughout the years. Thanks to some of the best chocolatiers in the world. Additionally, I want to show that Poland has a lot to offer when it comes to the pastry and chocolate business. That’s very important to me."
Where do you find inspiration?
"I find my inspiration everywhere and in everything. I look for it when gazing at nature, surroundings, people… I don’t have a specific ritual or something. I just feel it and then I execute."
How do you fine-tune your creations?
"I test my creations with people I work with. It’s important that they’ve got a different taste. I work for a big hotel. There, I talk and exchange information with kitchen staff, waiters … but most importantly: I talk with customers to receive real feedback. That’s why I organize tasting panels and try to take into account what’s being said about my creations, flavours and ingredient combinations."
“The biggest challenge to me? The idea of competing with the crème de la crème in pastry and being judged by top-notch professionals.”
How important is it to share your creations with other chefs at this stage?
It is very important. But I share my ideas with only a few chefs I’m close with. They’re the ones I trust. I value their opinion because I know they will be honest. As for the rest, I don’t really care!
What’s the biggest challenge in this competition?
For the assignments, the ‘Chocolate Snack To Go’ might be a bit of a challenge for me. As for the rest: just the idea of competing with the crème de la crème in the world of pastry. And on top of all that: being judged by top-notch professionals! That can be a bit stressful.
How would you describe your style in chocolate and pastry creations?
My style evolves all the time. It’s very difficult to describe. When I create, it comes from the heart and soul. It’s impossible to put it in a box. It’s a combination of many things which I can’t really name.
How does patisserie change in your opinion? Do you see trends or shifts in flavours and textures?
We’re going back to nature by trying to integrate it. I notice the rising importance of clean-label and customer awareness when it comes to the ingredients we use. Today, they know exactly what they want to see on their plates.
As for the textures and flavours: natural, sophisticated and surprising. Our basic childhood recipes are great, but they’re just a starting point. We need to evolve taste to satisfy the changing needs of tomorrow’s customers.
How do you envision the megacity of Futropolis?
When I see future cities and people, everything is coloured in green and white, with a touch of cold steel. In the middle of it all I see a golden center: the core. It represents the harmony between humanity and nature. As a result, living there will be a pleasure. Technology, nature, harmony … kind of a utopia for me.
Discover his winning creations: