Belgian Chocolatier-Patissier, Erik Van der Veken hosted a guest chef demonstration on 'Understanding Ganache’ at Le Cordon Bleu London.
Since studying Culinary Arts in Antwerp, Erik has held positions as Head Chocolatier at the iconic 5-star Hotel Café Royal and Marc Patisserie in London. Erik then moved to the Middle East, where he held the position of Executive Pastry Chef tasked to start the first branch of a new chain of chocolate and pastry shops to open throughout the Gulf region. Cacao Barry rewarded him with acceptance into the exclusive Chocolate Ambassadors Club.
Currently, Erik manages his time between global consultancy work and his role as pastry chef and demonstrator for Redmond Fine Foods. He has built a reputation for his extensive technical knowledge and skills which have resulted in companies from London and as far as East Asia constantly seeking him out for recipe development, product demonstrations and staff training.
Erik showcased three vegan bonbons to illustrate that a vegan bonbon can taste the same as the traditional dairy-based bonbon, provided the correct balance of ingredients is used. In this vegan recipe, no dairy is used as he swaps cream for water and butter for olive oil. The great thing about a water-based ganache is that the water always hits your palette first, making it quite interesting to play with.
Erik's first dish was a Pecan Volcano bonbon, made with a pecan praline and ganache filling, the second a tropical vegan bonbon utilising synthetic wax and the final a coconut crumble ganache using roasted desiccated coconut and coconut milk powder.
During the demonstration, he allow members of the audience to help him with his preparations, and to close the evening, all guests were able to try the three bonbons. The end result? They could barely tell the difference between vegan and dairy-based bonbons!
You can read more about Erik Van Der Veken on his blog at Arcane Chocolate.
To read the full review or to see other upcoming demonstrations, please visit our culinary conferences and cooking demonstrations page. Or to learn skills like those demonstrated by Erik Van Der Veken, why not browse our programmes and courses?