We are SERIOUS about making the best tasting drinks.
So we’ve enlisted a little help in from a chef who was trained by Heston Blumenthal at the 3 Michelin-Stared restaurant The Fat Duck.
The Fat Duck at Bray
“I read in a book recently that a chef was inspired to cook at the age of two, but that's just ridiculous,” he laughs. “In all honesty, my story may not seem that exciting. In fact, I was not into food when I was growing up. I was more into building computers and taking them apart again.”
But when I was turning 16 there was a four-month strike at my school in Iceland and there was nothing to do, so I somehow got a job working in a kitchen. As soon as I walked through the doors there was a thrill and excitement about the place. I loved it. We were working all hours, finishing at crazy times of the night and yet I couldn’t wait to go back each day.”
Stefan enrolled on a four-year culinary training course which combined working in a restaurant with all the college theory.
“It was fantastic for me and I soon started entering various cooking competitions. I was the Young Chef of Iceland, Nordic Young Chef, and also got a gold medal in the World Junior Chef Challenge.
What took me to the Fat Duck was wanting to understand what happens to food when you cooked it. I was into this from an analytical perspective - what is the science behind cooking and how can it help change the way we prepare food?
I’d read some articles about Heston Blumenthal in about 2001 and saw what he was doing and I found it hugely inspirational. There were two things I wanted to explore - what was happening to food when you cooked it and then taking that knowledge and still having the curiosity to challenge what you’ve learned.
In many respects I disproved many of the things I’d been taught in college, such as searing a steak to keep the juices in. What actually happens is the opposite. That sizzling sound is moisture escaping, so by cooking it sous vide - in a water bath - the meat retains all its moisture and flavour and you can simply sear it at the end.”
Now a director with Food Innovations Solutions, a company which helps food and drink manufacturers to maximise taste and flavour, Stefan has worked with the Love Taste Company for more than a year
“Richard got in touch with us because he is constantly looking at ways to make his smoothies better,” says Stefan. “It’s this constant pursuit of perfection which is remarkable and we’ve explored countless ways of doing this without needing to go down the Fat Duck craziness line. We don’t need to do a mustard smoothie or a bacon and egg one for instance, we just need to ensure that every smoothie people drink is literally bursting with flavour and goodness.”
Experimenting is a huge part of the job and Stefan is often found in the development kitchen playing with all sorts of fruit and vegetables. At the moment he’s concentrating on ‘green’ smoothies.
“Obviously there are huge numbers of fads and trends that sweep through this market but we don’t want green smoothies, or least the consumption of important vegetable and fruits, to be seen as a punishment. They have to taste great in order for people to make the connection between health and enjoyment, but they need to be ‘honestly’ green and reflect the health of the ingredients, not just green in colour and pumped full of apple juice.
Just the tiny addition of fennel, or tarragon, can make a huge difference. The same goes for pepper - it doesn’t have to be a pepper smoothie but the tiniest pinch of pepper can really bring out the flavours of the ingredients.”
We’re grateful he turned his back on computers.