Ruth Hinks recently became the first ever female to win the UK leg of the Chocolate Masters, meaning she will go on to represent the UK at the World Chocolate Masters Finals in Paris in 2013. In a tightly fought final, Ruth beat competition from Alistair Birt, Richie Heppell and Cork-based Conor McAlonan — owner of Liberty Boy Confections — to win the prestigious competition supported by Callebaut, Cacao Barry and Carma.
Ruth, who runs her own business — Cocoa Black — wowed the judges with her innovative culinary talent and fusion of flavours. “It was so close. I’ve had great support from my husband and staff – it has been very tough,” said an emotional Ruth after the winner was announced. Paris now awaits, with the world stage of the competition now ready for its first ever UK female contestant. Asked what she will do between now and then, Ruth immediately focussed and said, “Practice. Practice, practice and practice.” Robert Harrison, Barry Callebaut’s sales director for the UK and Ireland, said: “I would like to congratulate Ruth for a truly inspirational performance. There is no other culinary competition like the World Chocolate Masters that demands such high standards of creativity, design, innovation and inspiration from an individual. This was evident in spades during three days of thrilling competition.”
Previous winner and judge this time around, Mark Tilling noted just how much effort was put in by this year’s champ. “Ruth has done so much hard work and research, it’s fully deserved.” Another judge more familiar to our readers, Dirk Schonkeren — owner of Helena Chocolates in Castlebar and Irish Ambassador for Barry Callebaut — was similarly impressed. “Your praline was simply excellent. One of the best I have ever had,” he said to Ruth, immediately after her name was read out as the winner.
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Schonkeren, though, longs for the day that Irish entrants need not go through the UK process, “Ultimately I would like to see the Chocolate Masters in Ireland,” he explains when speaking to Hospitality Ireland at the show. Dirk was Ireland’s first ever entrant to the excellently executed event, falling just short in 2006 when losing out to Mark Tilling. “It was such a great experience,” he says. “I didn’t win, but it didn’t matter because the experience was so good.”
Given its premium standard, Callebaut chocolate is always something Dirk has known of, partly due to his Belgian heritage, so it seems only a matter of time before more and more Irish enter the event. “I was a judge two years ago and thankfully they asked me back again this year. We keep building it up that way. It is all about showing people what is possible and what they are capable of.”
Barry Callebaut asked Dirk to become Irish Ambassador for the brand after the 2006 final, which he was only too happy to accept, with the aim of building up Irish catering confidence a big part of his role. “We try to encourage people to enter, first of all. No one entered before me, so we want more. There are so many in Ireland that work in this area; bringing up the standard costs a lot. Since 2006 I have seen so much skill but people need to dare to enter.”
And the rewards are clear to see. Competing against fellow caterers can only bring out the best in entrants, and it was noted this year just how high the bar was raised in what was ultimately a borderline decision by the judges.
In London, Ruth also took home a gong for her take on a contemporary classic creation — a black forest-inspired chocolate log called The Belfry — with the judges all in awe of the standard of produce she created. “I chose a modern interpretation of a chocolate log incorporating a Black Forest gateau,” explained Ruth. “The structure contains elements of each taste sensation from the sour cherry compot, the sweet Kirsch cream, the bitter dark chocolate and the salty biscuit base. I also built in a number of different textures within the construction — the smooth chocolate cream, reveals a Kirsch soaked jaconde which encases the light Kirsch cream, which houses a cherry compote containing a surprise texture. I finished the structure with Kirsch mousse cherries. The cinnamon rock at the base reflects my interpretation of the chocolate flakes. ‘The Belfry’ is definitely a challenging recipe but one that more adventurous caterers can certainly use to wow their customers – particularly over the festive period when people are in the mood to treat themselves with something really special.”
Right throughout the final day, the judges could constantly be heard murmuring just how difficult the result was to predict, with head judge Gary Hunter echoing those sentiments after Ruth was finally revealed as the winner. “I can’t stress just how close the result was,” said Gary — Head of Culinary Arts, Food & Beverage Service and Hospitality at Westminster Kingsway College. “Ruth’s moulded pralines were excellent, as was her contemporary twist on a classic. This win is just the beginning of a fantastic journey for her. Congratulations.”
Barry Callebaut is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate – from the cocoa bean to the finished chocolate product. Barry Callebaut is present in 27 countries, operates around 40 production facilities and employs a diverse and dedicated workforce of about 6,000 people. Barry Callebaut serves the entire food industry focusing on industrial food manufacturers, artisans and professional users of chocolate (such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs or bakers), the latter with its two global brands Callebaut and Cacao Barry. Barry Callebaut is the global leader in cocoa and chocolate innovations and provides a comprehensive range of services in the fields of product development, processing, training and marketing. Cost leadership is another important reason why global as well as local food manufacturers work together with Barry Callebaut. Through its broad range of sustainability initiatives and research activities, the company works with farmers, farmer organisations and other partners to help ensure future supplies of cocoa and improve farmer livelihoods.
For information on the World Chocolate Masters please visit www.worldchocolatemasters.com. For more information on the international competition, please call 00441295 224721 or email [email protected]
The Belfry by Ruth Hinks, UK Chocolate Master 2012
For the Chocolate Mousse:335g semi whipped cream100g egg75g sugar90g cream135ml milk200g Cacao Barry Tanzania 75%65g Callebaut Arriba 30%Method:Prepare an anglaise with the yolks, sugar and milk or cook in the Thermomix for five minutes to 80°C. Add the chocolate and allow to cool to 35°C. Fold in cream and pipe into your mould.
For the Chocolate Jaconde Sponge:100g almond paste40g icing sugar70g egg yolks75g nibbed almonds1 egg35g cocoa powder35g flour35g butter100g egg whites40g caster sugarMethod:Mix almond paste, icing sugar, egg and yolks until light and fluffy. Sift in the flour, cocoa and fold in melted butter. Whisk up whites and sugar and fold into the flour mix.Bake at 210°C for about 10 minutes. Cut into shape and stick onto almond biscuit with cherry compot.
For the Kirsch Cream Bavouirs:250g milkVanilla pod 60g egg yolk – pasteurized60g sugar3 leaves gelatine 200g cream (whipped)4 caps KirschMethod:Make an anglaise with milk, sugar and yolks. Add the gelatine leaves and flavouring. Fold in semi whipped cream. Use this for your cherry garnish too. Pipe into the mould.
For the Morello Cherry Compot (Poaching Liquid):1 bottle red wine250g Grenadine2 orange juice and zest2 lemon juice and zest6 cardamoms1 cinnamon stick1 bay leaf1 star anise500g sugar (to taste)500g poaching syrup4g agar + 4g caster sugar – use this for the cherry compot in a tube.Method: Bring to the boil all the ingredients and add the cherries. Turn the heat off and allow it to sit. Use the agar to set the jelly and also to use in the cherry garnish.
For the Chocolate Glaze:300g whipping cream50g water440g sugar120g sift cocoa powder4 leaves bronze gelatine60g waterMethod:Boil the cream, sugar and 50ml water until it reaches 106°C. Remove from the heat and add the cocoa powder. Add the 60g water and the gelatine and cool to about 30 before using it.
For the Almond and Cinnamon Biscuit Base125g butter125g caster sugar150g Cacao Barry Saint Dominican100g ground almonds80g nibbed almonds25g flour60g sweet crumbs60g sour dried cherries3g cocoa1 egg3g cinnamonMethod:Cream your butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and melted chocolate. Add the other ingredients and spread thinly on a baking tray. Bake for 10-15 min and cut out shape while still warm.
Glaze for Chocolate Cherry and Jelly:120g Callebaut White Chocolate60g Cacao Barry Madifrolio 120g Callebaut Cocoa ButterMethod:Melt all the chocolates together and dip the fake cherries into it. Allow to set and finish with a stalk.
For the Chocolate Soil:200g white sugar75g water80g Callebaut dark 80%4g cinnamonCopper dustMethod:Take sugar and water to 135°C. Whisk in the chocolate and pour onto a Silpat mat to cool
For the Kirsch Syrup:100g Poaching liquid50g Sugar syrupKirsch to tasteMethod:Heat your syrup for soaking your sponge.
Montage / Assembly:Line your mould with plastic.Place the chocolate mousse down first.Place your Sponge down.Fill with Kirsch cream and sit cherry compote in.Close off with Kirsch cream.Place cinnamon base at the bottom.Allow to freeze and turn out.Glaze with chocolate glaze and garnish.