10 Minutes With: pastry chef Dimitris Chronopoulos

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 28th September 2018

Dimitris Chronopoulos is a pastry chef and is also a judge on the Greek version of Bake Off.

The popularity of Bake Off both professional and amateur is probably at its (meringue) peak and a new series of the show has just started in Greece where fans of baking are being pitted against each other on a variety of tasks.

One of the judges is acclaimed pastry chef Dimitris Chronopoulos who will be keeping a close eye on the gloss of their chocolate and the rise of their bakes.

Dimitris spoke to The Staff Canteen about Bake Off, where he finds inspiration and the importance of training.

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Pastry chef Dimitris Chronopoulos

Despite having strong judging credentials, this is the first time that Dimitris has taken part in a TV show like Bake Off before.

He did reveal that he had watched a few episodes of the Great British Bake Off’s for inspiration via YouTube but that he found his own Bake-Off experience to be ‘very interesting’.

He said: “I have participated as a guest judge before, but this is the first time I am experiencing the whole process behind a TV show. It is a very interesting experience to work for a TV program like that, very different from what I am doing, and the fact that I am working with a great team makes me feel blessed and extremely happy.”

Dimitris graduated from the Athens School of Tourism (O.T.E.K) in 1992 and has since worked both as a pastry chef and as a pastry chef consultant at several high-end establishments, pastry shops and exclusive hotels around Greece, Cyprus and beyond, including Michelin-starred restaurants such as Spondi, Vardis and Varoulko in Athens and Alain Parodi and Le Develec in France. He has also attained the title of ‘Best Pastry Chef in Greece 2005–06’, as awarded by Greek newspaper Eleftherotypia.

He said: “Working in such a challenging environment teaches you to be able to do your best under pressure. You learn to create and produce the optimum result in a very short time because the expectations are extremely high. If you do manage to work in such a demanding environment, you can manage to do almost everything!”

He started working as a pastry chef at the age of 16 and says he knew that pastry was his chosen path as this was something he had always wanted to do.

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Dimitris in action

Two of his biggest influences were teachers who had taught him at pastry school.

He said: “They taught me the creative side of pastry. And not long after, my mentor Simon Gilles Deligiannis, who taught me all the French techniques of pastry and this really changed my perspective on this job. He was a great influence on me as all his teaching has been following me up to now.”

Dimitris believes that the art of pastry works hand in hand with both creativity and inspiration and he perceives pastry as a ‘field’ of art and cites this as a key factor to what influenced him to become a pastry chef.

One of his favourite things about working as a pastry chef is creating new desserts, spending time in the laboratory as well as teaching young pastry chefs. 

“Training is extremely important for everyone!" Explained Dimitris. "There is always something for you to learn or to improve on, even if you are a professional. I strongly believe in lifelong learning and training and that's why I try my best to impart knowledge to and inspire young pastry chefs through training seminars I conduct around the world.”

coffeecubes
Coffee Cubes

Due to its many complexities, Dimitris believes that pastry is a specialised area and said: “It's not just a technical procedure. You need, of course, to have the know-how but you also need to know how to treat your ingredients in the best possible way.”

Does he have a favourite flavour combination that he likes to bake or eat? 

“Yes, I do. White chocolate, lime and mango. Mostly because I love sparky flavours.”

As well as being one of the judges on Bake Off and one of his country’s top pastry chefs, Dimitris also finds time to be an ambassador for Valrhona both in Greece and in the Middle East and has done so since 2007.

Within his role, he teaches students and gives training seminars and workshops in both regions.


By Emma Harrison

@canteenemma

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 28th September 2018

10 Minutes With: pastry chef Dimitris Chronopoulos