One day with the Chef Elina Boyko

One day with the Chef Elina Boyko

– You are a pastry chef and a member of the sweetest profession — chocolatier. What prompted you to choose such a direction as confectionery?
Oddly enough I didn’t choose. This is state, the state of work in this direction, in confectionery art, came by itself … There was a feeling that you were just being led, opening new doors, new pages every day, presenting you new people, the most important thing in it was not to resist) and to help the universe: read books, work through, learn new things, communicate with incredibly talented people, and sometimes knock on doors I thought to be hiding something interesting.

– Where did you study? What international internships did you pass? And what internships would you recommend? What is the most memorable?
My main profession is an electrical engineer of aviation devices and computer-measuring systems. BUT! The main thing that the institute (KhAI) gave me is that  it taught me to learn! Eliminating unnecessary and making emphasis on the main thing.
As for teaching confectionery art, it was France, Switzerland, Italy.
Practice and immersion in the process are main in the internship.
When you start working with the chef in the processing line, follow his idea, hands, movements sharpened with time, simultaneously asking questions — this is what allows you to jump over the steps in your vocational training. When choosing where to study, I recommend to first of all choose the Chef, the person from whom you want to get what you need!
Every internship is a lifetime, in addition to immersion in work, there is an opportunity to plunge the life of another city, country …
France, Brittany, the western tip of the country with the ocean, sitting on the coast for a few hours, breathing in the scent of lavender with the ocean breeze — it really means something!
Switzerland, the severity of Geneva and such lightness in life: when you walk along the central street with the Chef in the early morning and around you there are Gucci, Armani boutiques … and together you carry on the trolley boxes with the best cherry which after having returned to the workshop you will sort through removing every branch, and then you’ll put it into jars, fill it with kirsh so that in the fall you’ll be able to dip this cherry into chocolate and enjoy!
There, in Geneva, I remember a bright sunny day. The historic center of Geneva. Confectionery Du Rhône Chocolatier founded in 1875. Panoramic windows of the chocolate shop overlook the intersection of streets, at this intersection, putting their palms under the fountain trickles, a loving couple is kissing, Joe Dassin’s song Et si tu n’existais pas sounds. I’m elbow-deep in chocolate, creating a sculpture, I just can’t stop crying. Dreams come true, I believe in it.

– Was it difficult to master your profession?
When you do what you like, everything is a joy. Yes, there were moments when we worked for 3 days without leaving the kitchen but the result was worth it.

– How long have you been working as a pastry chef?
8th year. Working day is more than 12 hours, no weekend, vacation and internship — two in one.

– Do you specialize in classic or designer chocolate recipes?
Depending on the task. But I always try to add my own elements: in taste, in texture, in design.

– Where do you buy raw materials: a local or a foreign supplier?
It makes no difference as long as the ingredient is of high quality and natural. Suppose, if you take chocolate, unfortunately, cocoa beans do not grow in our region so the answer is evident.

– Chocolatier often controls not only the quality of raw materials but also the conditions of its cultivation. Have you ever got an idea of ​​becoming the owner of a cocoa bean plantation?
– This is what I want to come to in order to clearly understand the product! It’s a pipe dream!

– Your chocolate is craft, what are its features?
1.This is for sure selected high-quality raw material;
the absence of flavorings, dyes, lecithin. As a flavoring we only use Bourbon vanilla sticks (it can be clearly seen in white chocolate as black small patches);
2. our own recipes;
3. low sugar content;
4. Interesting flavor combinations in dessert chocolates:
– with malt and cumin;
– with porcini mushrooms;
– with mulled wine;
– with whiskey/rum;
– with juniper;
– with buckwheat.

– What incompatible, at first glance, products do you still manage to combine when making chocolate?
If it concerns only chocolate, the most interesting thing is chocolate with juniper and chocolate with  porcini mushrooms.
And if we take chocolate products, for example, candies, my favorite combination is  chocolate + paprika + tomato + raspberry + basil.
And, of course, cheeses with chocolate are my love!
Goat cheese with porcini mushrooms, gorgonzola piccante with caramelized banana, cheddar with thyme, parmesan with nutmeg and a bit of honey.

– Napoleon loved pork with chocolate; Mexicans eat turkey with chocolate sauce. What combinations of chocolate with dishes do you recommend chefs in Ukrainian to serve in restaurants?
I really want to try a duck with chocolate and a salad of grilled vegetables with chocolate dressing.

– What inspires you to create your masterpieces?
First of all it’s an emotion! Love, music, sunset or sunrise, wind, book, picture, idea.

– You are a chef-experimenter. What are the most interesting ingredients to work with?
With quality and natural ingredients! When an ingredient is absolute in quality and taste, you can predict the result, the search process goes much faster.

– Confectioner is a very versatile profession. You are a creator, an expert who can work with his hands, a teacher, and an author of books. How do you manage to combine so many professional qualities?
I do what is interesting to me! Then the excitement appears, time stretches, you immerse yourself completely in the process, and in the end you have the result.

– How automated is your production? Or are most processes performed manually?
I am all for the process of automation. Automation allows you to get a stable result! But any machine is controlled by man, and here lies the versatility of creativity!

– What desserts and sweets are most popular among Ukrainians?
 Those with bright, understandable, readable tastes! Sometimes you read the flavor composition, and it’s all mixed instead of a “WOW-effect”!

– How long is your usual work day and how do you spend it?
The working day starts since the moment of awakening: the schedule starts in the head, what and when you need to do … ends when you tell yourself STOP!

– What is the secret of a successful pastry chef, in your opinion?
A successful pastry chef, like any successful professional, is a brilliant man in all spheres: administration, management, marketing, he is a creator, idea generator, manager.

– Who would you like to work with among the pastry chefs?
It’s interesting to work with those who are fond of their own business.
It can be both a mater and a young chef with burning eyes. You can get an incentive to move on, to do what you love and to love what you do from anyone!


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