The great Oscar Wilde once said that no great artist sees things as they really are, because if he did, he would no longer be an artist. This ability to see beyond or to see what others cannot see is a valuable virtue for any art, and that includes pastry or chocolate making in their most creative aspect. In this context at so good #24, we find Francisco Migoya, Pastry chef at Modernist Cuisine, who realized that chocolate bars work better as a group than individually, and that matte provides a special and unknown beauty.
All this results into creations that play with geometry and symmetry so as to create a truly magical visual effect. The author himself explains to us all the creative and technical process to make what is but the result of that mentioned capacity a reality, as if it were a sixth sense.
‘Ideas are everywhere, we just need to always have our eyes open to see them’
I came up with an idea I had for chocolate bars that function more as a group than as a single piece. I was thinking of how they are seen, and how they could be displayed either in a retail environment or on a website. We need to remember that when people go into a retail shop, or order online, they are buying with their eyes first. It is different from a restaurant in that way, where you read a menu and order composed dishes with ingredients you like. How it looks doesn’t really matter when you decide what to order, and if it is a beautiful dish once it is placed in front of you, all the better, but it isn’t crucial to its success. When we display items in a retail environment, we are showing our goods, what we make, and the customer will eventually buy what they like, a decision that is made initially by what they see and secondly by reading the item’s description. It is because of this that I came up with these bars to discover new paths from function to form and vice versa.
“When we display items in a retail environment, we are showing our goods, what we make, and the customer will eventually buy what they like, a decision that is made initially by what they see and secondly by reading the item’s description”
I also wanted to delve into making matte bars intentionally instead of shiny bars. A shiny chocolate is a beautiful sight to be sure. But one day, not too long ago I saw a Porsche 911 on the street and instead of it having a shiny color painted on it, it was matte black and I found that incredibly beautiful and bold. I eventually thought that this could also be done with chocolate bars and other confections. In other words, instead of spraying the mold with a colored cocoa butter, you would spray the bar or bonbon with tempered cocoa butter after it was unmolded. I think there is a tremendous aesthetic value to it.
Finally, I made all of these molds. I purchased silicone molds that were intended to make floor tiles out of concrete. Instead of this, I cast each silicone mold with plaster of Paris, and then I used that to make plastic molds out of thin polycarbonate using a vacuum forming machine. Ideas are everywhere we just need to always have our eyes open to see them.
“I have always appreciated the aesthetics of sameness. Meaning, everything on the display looks exactly the same and is placed facing the same direction – like soldiers marching down a field.”
Passion fruit and praline bar
I have always appreciated the aesthetics of sameness. Meaning, everything on the display looks exactly the same and is placed facing the same direction – like soldiers marching down a field. In these bars, I could have done that, but I decided to place as many of them at a different angle as possible, because this allowed for many different shadows and shades to form, completing a harmonious imbalance of light and color which I find beautiful. Additionally, I have added a textural component at the bottom of the bar, a place where we often forget about because it is hidden or unseen, yet it holds many opportunities. In this case I added coconut flakes which work very well with the passion fruit and praline flavors in the bar.
Find out more about the whole collection, what lies behind each design and the recipes at so good #24.