World Chefs: Chocolate sculptures showcase pastry artist's crafty side

Tue Dec 24, 2013 4:21am EST
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - As executive pastry chef at the Grand Hyatt hotel in New York, Gonzalo Jiménez creates all kinds of desserts but he has a passion for chocolate and uses it to create intricate sculptures of robots, steam pumps and other objects.

"I was supposed to go to architecture school," said Jiménez, also known as Chef Gonzo, whose whimsical creations often reflect industrial themes.

"I enrolled and everything but when I was a teenager, I left home and started cooking in a restaurant."

Jimenez, who makes a line of hand-made chocolates for the Grand Hyatt, studied culinary arts and molecular gastronomy and earned a degree in pastry arts at the IAG (Instituto Argentino de Gastronomía) in Buenos Aires, honing his skills at luxury hotels in Argentina, Colorado and New Orleans.

The 29-year-old spoke to Reuters about learning how to temper chocolate from elderly German women in Patagonia, and his dream of representing his home country in the World Pastry Cup competition.

Q: Did you always want to be a pastry chef?

A: No, I first started as a savory chef but switched into pastries because I really like the crafty side of it, like making wedding cakes and things like that.

Q: How did you become interested in food?   Continued...

Executive pastry chef Gonzalo Jimenez arranges chocolates in his workspace at the Grand Hyatt in New York December 13, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Thayer