Damien Wager is self-taught and one of the benchmarks in UK pastry due to his creativity and talent. He released his first book, Edible Art, in October 2019, followed by Breaking The Mold in 2021. The release of his third book, Cocoa, is now available to pre-order at our Books For Chefs online bookstore.
In Cocoa, Wager explores how cocoa powder can be used to replace chocolate and enhance recipes in a wide range of pastry creations, from macarons to snacks, tarts, travel cakes, and vegan creations. As the author himself assures, it is “my most accomplished, mature, and thought out work to date. I cannot wait to share it all with you and showcase the power, versatility, and creativity that can be achieved by using cocoa powder as the main focal point”.
One of the great attractions of this book is that it is very didactic. “Offering tips and insight, showing you how to balance the pH levels alongside the acidity or strength of the other ingredients and components being used in each creation, it helps to create a more personal attachment to the dishes and items created”, says Tom Aikens , author, international restauranteur, and the youngest British chef to be awarded two Michelin stars.
45 creations, more than 150 sub-recipes
Throughout its 270 pages, Cocoa contains a total of 45 creations, with more than 150 sub-recipes in which the great capacity of cocoa powder to alter the fluidity, acidity, color, and flavor of the components is demonstrated.
It is divided into four sections: snacks, tarts, lifelike, and petits gateaux. In Snacks, Wager proposes a wide variety of preparations, from madeleines to macarons, bonbons, mendiants, donuts or travel cakes. In the Tarts section, we find the step-by-step recipes of Red Velvet, St, Honore, Banoffee, and Peanut Butter, among many others. Next, there is a chapter dedicated to ‘Lifelike’ with five sweet trompe l’oeils (Dipped Strawberry, Hazelnut. Cherry, Chilli and Raspberry). Finally, numerous Petits gateaux with suggestive names such as Cocoa Bomb, Popcorn, and Christmas is cancelled.
Collaboration with deZaan
All the creations in the book are made with cocoa powder produced by deZaan, and the result could not be more optimal. “Working with him is always interesting and fun. Damien always came back with challenges that pushed both my team and myself to create the right formulas for him and the many chefs out there who would like to explore the world of cocoa.
Damien’s distinguishing quality is that he strives to help others making high-end pastry accessible to all”, explains Talia Profet, deZaan European Chef Lead.