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Scary beautiful, damn delicious. Dessert illusions of chef Ben Churchill

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Appetising is something else and nevertheless the food illusionist Ben Churchill’s dessert creations are the most trendy you can possibly make out of sugar. No other chefs play so virtuously with the combination of sight and taste, with the “ick” factor, you just have to overcome this to allow your pallet to rise to heavenly levels.

Ben Churchill creates his desserts as if everyday was Halloween. Worms crawling over the plate, a rotting mandarine, instead of serving a rose – delicately made out of marzipan, he serves up a sweet ashtray full of glowing cigarette butts!

Not everyone’s cup of tea? Well, over 100.000 fans on Instagram and facebook think differently and eagerly follow Churchill creating.

We wanted to find out, where he gets his ideas from.

KTCHNrebel: Please briefly introduce yourself: How did your start your career? What is your professional background? What did you do before you started your „business“ as food illusionist?

Ben Churchill: I have been a professional chef for over ten years, but three years ago I realized there was one area of the kitchen, I had never really dabbled in: pastry. I soon become tired of the conventional stuff and asked myself: How far can desserts go? So I started experimenting.
 

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Vanilla pannacotta topped with meringue powder and edible cigarette ends

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Olive oil sponge, mint crumb, baked apple coulis, milk foam and toffee sauce

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Apple bavarois, stewed apple filling, chocolate maggots

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The pumpkin dessert... Pumpkin flat mousse, ganache, pumpkin gel

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Vanilla cake, cream, mango

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Pear Parfait, charred overnight oats, almonds, honey

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Images: Ben Churchill

KTCHNrebel: How do you earn your money?

Ben Churchill: I still have a day job, cooking in a restaurant in a private company. It’s pretty busy so keeps me on my toes.

KTCHNrebel: Where do you get your ideas, the inspiration for your creations?

Ben Churchill: Anywhere: TV, games, the natural world. Inspiration can come at any time.

KTCHNrebel: Is there anywhere, where we can actually try your creations?

Ben Churchill: My food illusions are all created at home. With my book „Food Illusions Vol. 1“ you can try some of my earlier desserts yourselves.

KTCHNrebel: Which „one“ food illusion do you love yourself best?

Ben Churchill: Definitely my Ashtray and my Iron Throne. The two were real labours of love.

Image: Ben Churchill

KTCHNrebel: Why are you using social media so intensely? What is the advantage for you as a chef to have more than 100.000 followers?

Ben Churchill: It sort of happened accidentally! I didn’t plan it that way, but it’s good for getting my ideas across.

KTCHNrebel: What are the difficulties – or let´s say ´challenges´ – for a pastry chef?

Ben Churchill: For me, who trained myself, it’s finding the right techniques for the right task. Like what process is best for making an edible washing up sponge, for example!

KTCHNrebel: What advice would you offer young chefs who are just starting their careers?

Ben Churchill: Explore, try stuff out, have an imagination, but learn as much as you can from people willing to teach you!

KTCHNrebel: And what are your personal plans for the future? Where will you be in 10 years time?

Ben Churchill: Hopefully, I will have a few more books out!

KTCHNrebel: Last but not least, we are curious to know: Are you related to Sir Winston Churchill?

Ben Churchill: Haha.

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