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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Meet Asia's Chocolate Prince; Chef Lawrence Cheong Jun Bo



I got an invite to chocolate truffle-making demonstration at the Academy of Pastry and Bakery Arts in Makati last Sept. 4. I said yes right away for I would like to witness how to make chocolate from scratch and a truffle at that.






Chef Lawrence Cheong Jun Bo, the 27-year old chocolate master from Malaysia, a winner of Coupe de la du Monde de Patisserie 2015 held in France, dubbed as the Asia's Chocolate Prince.



Chef Lawrence demonstrate before us the proper tempering, preparing, mixing  (how to make chocolate pieces glossy),

He teached us the proper way to chocolate crystallization, tempering and never ever use a wooden spoon to stir chocolate, because it retains odor and moisture, which will destroy the chocolate.




Chef Lawrence requires the use of thermometer to avoid over heating and keep track of temperature. and its a must to keep a clean kitchen when making chocolate,  do not let it come in contact with water while melting. Water droplets will cause it to turn hard or lumpy.

The other trivia is that I never knew that chocolate making would require the use of sugar alcohol such as sorbitol and dextrose, what I know is that  Sorbitol are present is some fruits.



The good thing is sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and dextrose are a popular choice for weight loss due to their reduced calorie content, and for diabetics due to their low glycemic index.





Chef Lawrence Cheong Jun Bo started his career from a humble bakery in Malaysia. With more than 10 years of experience in pastry and baking for various prominent hotels under the mentorship of the industry’s Master Chefs, he catapulted his career as Asia’s Chocolate Prince.

Chef Lawrence will be teaching Filipinos the techniques of a chocolate master. He is one of the many master chefs who come to teach at the Academy, which recently opened at the 4th floor of the Metro House Building in Gil Puyat, Makati.




If you want to enroll  in chocolate and pastry making and would like to meet Chef Lawrence Cheong Jun Bo in person go check the Academy of Pastry and Bakery Arts in Makati.

Chef Lawrence is one of the many Master Chefs from across the world, who are teaching at The Academy of Pastry and Bakery Arts Philippines. For the schedule of short and full-time courses, visit their website academyofpastryartsphilippines.com or contact the Academy at 0917-2039089 or 0947-7558979.


Seeds of happiness

Chocolate, he shares, is derived from the humble cacao beans of the Theobroma cacao tree that grows in places near the Equator. These seeds of happiness are covered with white pulp and grow inside a pod-like fruit.

Before the Europeans knew of its existence when the Spanish conquered Mexico in the 16th Century, chocolate was a cold bitter beverage mixed of roasted, ground and foamed cocoa called by South American Aztecs as xocolatlor bitter water.

In the middle of the 19th century, English Joseph Fry produced the first solid chocolate that we know today. In 1875, Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter gave the world milk chocolate by adding condensed milk to it.

So how is chocolate made? According to him, chocolate undergoes a complex process before it turns into the heavenly food we are all familiar with. It all begins with cocoa farmers cracking open the pods, scooping out the seeds, and eventually fermenting and drying them.

These beans are shipped to factories, where they undergo cleaning, roasting and grounding into a paste called chocolate liquor.  Through manufacturers chocolate-making pass a lengthy process that include pressing, rolling, mixing with sugar and other ingredients, and heating and cooling to yield a delicious chocolate we’ve come to love.

Selecting a chocolate

There are two categories of chocolate: real and compound. Real chocolate contains cocoa butter, an expensive substance extracted from cocoa or cacao beans. Its distinct nature requires it to undergo a special procedure during the melting process called tempering. Compound chocolate, on the other hand, contains vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter and tempering is not required. It’s affordable and easier to use than real chocolate.

According to Chef Lawrence, there are three main types of chocolates:dark chocolate, which mainly contains cocoa bean mass, cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin and vanillin to enhance the flavor; milk chocolate, wherein a part of the dry components of the cocoa are substituted with milk components; and white chocolate, which undergoes the same process as dark and milk chocolate but does not make use of cocoa bean mass or powder.

Among the three, he prefers to use dark chocolate, especially during competitions because it has the “taste of real chocolate”. He also prefers to use Belgian chocolate such as the Callebaut. “In choosing a chocolate, what’s important are the taste and the texture,” he explains.Chocolate's taste and texture though are products of a variety of cacao trees, where it was grown, and how it was processed (fermented, dried, roasted, and tempered).






Chef Lawrence is a graduate of Food Science and Technology and Bakery in Taiwan. He has worked in various prominent hotels in Malaysia such as One World Hotel, Renaissance Hotel, Hotel Maya and Impiana KLCC Hotel.

He has an impressive credential that includes gold medals in chocolate showpiece categories in the Culinaire Singapore Food and Hospitality Asia 2012 and Culinaire Singapore Food and Hospitality Asia 2013.





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