A couple weeks ago, I attended a 4-day masterclass with Jordi Bordas, a revolutionary pastry-chef from Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of B-concept, a new way of creating healthier pastry recipes without taking away the textures and flavors and avoiding artificial
substitutes that plague the "healthier" alternatives available on the market today.
It was a pretty mind-blowing experience and I am not exaggerating. Jordi's way of thinking when he started his journey to B-concept was pretty obvious, but one no one until him really thought of before. If you take a classic recipe for a chocolate mousse it has ingredients such as chocolate, egg yolks (for emulsification), sugar, whip cream, gelation agent and sometimes even more. When the chef said, "If you re making a chocolate mousse, don't you want the flavor to be pure chocolate? Why are you adding yolks to have an eggy taste or whip cream to further dilute the chocolate flavor? or adding sugar to it? Chocolate already has sugar and fats needed for the sweet and creamy texture. The rest is unnecessary!"
It was like light bulbs went off everywhere in the room. When Jordi was mixing chocolate with water to make a chocolate mousse, everybody in the room held their breath in horror - we were all taught never to mix chocolate with water! Like ever! But with modern pastry evolving and ingredients available to us today, you can do so now. There are natural emulsifiers available for purchase that would allow for you to emulsify chocolate with water. And voila! Magic! You add a meringue to the mixture and you have a perfect chocolate mousse.
There are actual formulas created by Jordi and his team that makes it "easy" to create recipes from scratch in this new way and play with ingredients we couldn't before. For example, the reason there's so much sugar in most of the pastries is because long ago, they needed it to preserve the product longer that would sit out for hours on the shelf. Nowadays, there's refrigerated and beautiful display equipment that doesn't require so much preservation.
When I would think about vegan or sugar-free desserts, I would wrinkle my nose and rather eat a salad. I have tried a few local bakeries in Seattle and was left disappointed by the flavor, textures and the ingredient list. When, finally on the 4th day of the class, we got to try all of the creations by Jordi Bordas, it was amazing, to say the least. The vegan cake that I was most afraid of of trying - was one of my favorites! Sure, there are still some difference in certain things, but most people wouldn't notice and just enjoy the pure flavors of fruits and berries. The recipes were balanced to perfection where one layer could have been completely sugarless (without any sweeteners at all!) but the other layer have a little bit of sure and it would work in perfect harmony.
I can't wait to get my hands on the new ingredients and be able to master-up my recipes that will be not just gluten-free but dairy-free and vegan and taste just as amazing.
But BEWARE! It will not be a cheap experience but it will be worth it. Your taste buds and your gut will be thankful :)
And just to summarize the whole experience of having Jordi Bordas as your teacher - one of the best. He's an incredibly smart, passionate, and kind person and it's a pleasure to watch a master at work and share his knowledge with those aspiring on expanding their world of pastry. Can't wait to go back to Barcelona and visit his school and his family pastry shop.