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Talia Profet: “With cocoa powder I see a world of possibilities that I don’t see in chocolate”

Cocoa so good #31 Talia Profet

June 19, 2024
Cocoa so good #31 Talia Profet

The work of research and innovation in a sector such as avant-garde cuisine is constant and never-ending. Either to better adapt to the demands of a gastronomy in which pleasure is not at odds with health or sustainability, or to bring new, more intense and pure experiences to the palate. This is where the efforts of some companies to rediscover an ingredient like cocoa powder come in.

In so good.. magazine 31, Talia Profet, pastry chef at deZaan, in addition to reviewing her career, speaks about the advantages of working with cocoa powder. Below we share part of the conversation we had with her.


Discover So Good #31


What are the key steps in your training and career path?

The key steps in my training started on the very first day I worked in the kitchen at Balthazar NYC. There, I was lucky enough to have three mentors to show me what to expect from kitchen culture but also to help me keep an extra eye out for opportunities to learn all that I could. My second step was working at Restaurant Daniel in New York, where I learned the importance of mastering techniques and understanding ingredients in depth.

Moving to Europe, I worked with Gino Gebhard, who introduced me to working with different cuisines, such as Asian food. Next, moving to Paris and working under Thomas Croizé—at the time Pastry Chef of Le Jules Verne by Alain Ducasse—was one of the key steps in making me the chef I am today. I learned how to take on almost any challenge in the food service world and to be disciplined in my thought process.

Finally, I came to work for deZaan, which brought a whole new challenge: exploring and understanding all aspects of the cocoa world.


Which of your past experiences have helped you to forge your creative vision and your pastry philosophy

I have had the opportunity to work with and be mentored by many great chefs who shared one philosophy: the importance of a dish with quality, technique, and flavor. Knowing that my mentors had worked for certain chefs who laid the foundations of today’s gastronomic world motivated me to follow in their footsteps.


“I do like adding less common ingredients to my creations because I like challenging myself


What are the advantages of using cocoa powder instead of chocolate couverture?

In my opinion, cocoa powder gives a more intense flavor. It also allows chefs to control various aspects of the recipe, such as sugar reduction, plant-based ingredients, and fat content. I do like using chocolate for certain recipes, but now with the knowledge I have acquired working with cocoa powder as a main ingredient, I see a world of possibilities that I just don’t see with chocolate. Most people think cocoa equals chocolate, but actually it’s the other way around: chocolate derives from the cocoa bean.

Chocolate already has within its matrix sugar, emulsifier, and fat, which can enable a chef to create many things and cater to certain dietary requirements, but there is a limit to how far you can get. With cocoa powder I see no limits because it doesn’t have those ingredients built in, except for its fat percentage, of course.

In saying this, knowing that there is a variety of cocoa powder with different fat percentages, pH, flavor, and color only allows for endless possibilities.


Do you like to introduce less common dessert ingredients to your palate?

I do like adding less common ingredients to my creations because I like challenging myself. I consider it to be a special thing to be able to surprise someone’s taste buds with a different ingredient. Experiencing new dishes helps to expand my palate too.


Discover the complete interview in which Talia Profet details the advantage of using different ranges of cocoa powder and enjoy these creations with recipes and explanations in so good #31