Kibitzing kitchen table 10/11/2022: The art of chocolate


I never do my taxes before the last possible second of overtime, because they terrify me. It’s definitely my problem, but it explains why I’m stressed and running out of time this week. For these two reasons, we are going to look at chocolate today. (Also: tomorrow is my birthday, so.)

I encountered for the first time the work of a young French pastry chef and confectioner Amaury Guichon when I saw this video. There he makes a full-size chocolate cello, plus some spun sugar for the strings. Like all of his work, each piece is edible – he uses no internal structural material other than even more chocolate or other candies, and the surface color he applies is also edible. [3:38]

With his eye for (and knack for) the stunning centerpiece, it’s no surprise he found himself in Las Vegas, the home of overdone things, running its own pastry school. This giant chocolate squid is fully branded. (The suction cups on the tentacles appear to contain Cointreau. Because it is a dessert!) [4:10]

I don’t want you to think he only does monumental sculptures, though. Its smaller items tend to be full-fledged pastries, whose internal structure owes much to delicious fillings. Japanese sound tetsubin The kettle and matching cups, all filled with “tea”, are so realistic that it’s kind of shocking in the end when he slices them. [3:02]

It’s not just a “chocolate frog”. It’s a whole saga. [3:51]

The telescope, omg. Looks like if lentils weren’t made of sugar, it would be work. [3:12]

These cheeseburgers are basically huge macaroons with complicated toppings. All sorts of sweet ingredients are recruited to be reconfigured into standard burger toppings. [3:16]

One last long-term project: this impressive giant sea serpent. [3:04]

Although his YouTube channel is active, he also posts many short videos on Instagram, etc. Some of them appear as “shorts” on YT, but it also has a few highlight collections like this. [9:06]

It’s a longer piece in which the chef talks – it’s kind of an advertisement for his school (and the ending turns into an advertisement for the kitchen utensils he associates with), but it tells a bit his background and the school program.

The main reason I’m including it is because around 2:45 it spends about three minutes building its signature dessert and explaining step by step what it does and what the materials are, something we don’t get in other videos. [6:22]

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his 8-episode Netflix series (which I haven’t seen), Chocolate School. The first season started last November, and it’s unclear if there will be a second season, although it was apparently well received. Unlike similar shows, contestants are not judged harshly or eliminated, but continue to participate and learn throughout. Here is the trailer. [1:30]

Off the subject of chocolate: I would like to add one thing that I learned in the Monday April comment thread: Filmmaker Richard Linklater made a series of thirty-one videos of about a minute or less, with the support of Mothers vs. Greg Abbott (“MAGA,” got it?), designed for day-to-day viewing as the 2022 election nears. In each, a Texas citizen explains why he wants Greg Abbott out of there. They are laid out in the form of a Texas-shaped “advent calendar” on the site Abbott Out Advent Calendar. And even if an image appears for a news each day, they are in fact all there. If you’re in the mood to binge for half an hour, you can watch by clicking on the numbers for the days ahead. Or, you can go to their YouTube channel. It was hard to pick just one to include here, and I haven’t seen them all, but this one was pretty amazing. [1:10]

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