Chef of Chef Works: CHRIS ZAMMIT

Chef of Chef Works : March 2024

Chef: Chris Zammit.
Restaurant/Kitchen: Sweet BakeArt.
Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK.
Social Media: @Chriszammit028 – Instagram

This month we spoke to Chef Chris Zammit – Chef Director at at the confectionary dream factory that is Sweet BakeArt based on the South Coast. With a career starting at the finest hotels in Malta, he moved to the UK and has built his reputation on critically-acclaimed chocolate showpieces. Read more to learn about his marvellous creations that would put Wonka to shame!…

Working in his studio in his cool and comfortable Delancy Chef Coat.

1. Describe your restaurant / role:
I am the Director of Sweet BakeArt.

2. Describe your kitchen:
We manufacture bespoke chocolates, ice cream and desserts for hotels, restaurants and food chain outlets. All our products are handcrafted to perfection, and we take pride in that.

3. Favourite Chef Works item and why? 
My favourite chef coat is the Gramercy from the Urban collection, because it keeps me cool while I work comfortably.

An example of creative chocolate sculpture from BakeArt.

4. First job:
I began my career as a pastry chef at a 5-star hotel in Malta, shortly after completing catering college in Malta (my home country).

5. Favourite cookbook?
Choosing a favourite cookbook is difficult as there are so many great ones out there, but if I had to choose, it would be Chocolate by Ramon Moratò. This book not only provides delicious chocolate recipes, but also teaches the fundamental principles of chocolate. It is a valuable resource for both beginner and experienced pastry chefs alike.

6. Your awards and career highlights:
At the young age of 17, I began my journey in the catering industry and I have been fortunate enough to earn numerous accolades since then. I have had the honour of cooking for the late HM the Queen, creating a chocolate sculpture for her and the King of Bahrain. I have also crafted exquisite chocolate sculptures for renowned personalities, including Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Winston Zarah, Dua Lipa and Joe Marler. Not to mention, I have created chocolate masterpieces for the cast of the world-famous Moulin Rouge in London and the popular video game Call of Duty. I am proud of my achievements, which include a 7ft chocolate sculpture for the program “The Wonderful World of Chocolate” and a 5ft sculpture for the Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester. This sculpture featured fine details of the Bull & Bear restaurant by Tom Kerridge. However, my most treasured accomplishment is representing the English national team. It fills me with immense pride to wear the English flag on my jacket. Recently at the Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart, my chocolate sculpture won first place in the world. This was a momentous achievement, not just for me but for the entire England team. I am grateful for every opportunity I have had and will continue to strive for excellence within the catering industry.

Chef Chris’s exquisite 1st place winning sculpture at the Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart.

7. Your cooking inspiration:
My cooking inspiration comes from discovering new ingredients, trying new flavour combinations and experimenting with different cooking techniques. I am also inspired by the creativity and passion of chefs around the world, as well as the joy of sharing a delicious meal with loved ones. Cooking allows me to express myself creatively and brings me a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction.

8. Your speciality creation and what makes it so special?
My specialty creation is my vegan chocolate gelato, made with a creamy and rich dairy-free milk base that is infused with high-quality 70% chocolate for a decadent chocolate flavour. What sets it apart is its velvety texture that is indistinguishable from traditional dairy gelato, providing a deliciously satisfying treat for vegan and non-vegan chocolate lovers alike.

9. Your Favourite dish to eat and why?
There’s nothing quite like my Mother’s lasagna. Even now, as an adult, I still look back on those cherished childhood memories of Sundays spent gathered around the table, connecting with my family over a steaming plate of homemade lasagna. With each bite of its rich, savoury flavours, I’m transported back to those simpler times when family was everything. It’s amazing how one dish can bring back so many memories and emotions.

Chef Chris at work carefully sculpting his chocolate creation. 

10. Weirdest thing you ever ate: 
I think the weirdest food combination for me was dark chocolate and bacon. Strange enough it worked quite well as the saltiness of the bacon brought out even more the taste of chocolate.

11. Favourite ice cream flavour and what do you pair it with?
A 70% dark chocolate pairs amazingly well with miso and toasted caramel crumble.

12. Favourite family recipe:
Ross il Forn, Maltese baked Rice. This recipe is a treasured family heirloom that has been passed down through generations. It holds a special place in our hearts as my Dad has fond memories of his Mother making it for him when he was a child. Every bite of this dish is infused with love and tradition that has been carefully preserved over the years.

13. Favourite wine?  
I’m not a big wine connoisseur, but I do enjoy drinking Barolo when I’m with great company….

The magnificent Deer Mother Nature chocolate scupture by Chef Chris.

14. Who would you most like to create a sculpture for?
Creating a life-size Avengers character for a movie launch would be a dream come true for me, especially if it was made for Marvel Studios.

15. Favourite thing to do when not cooking?
Fishing, it’s not only a relaxing activity but also a great way to bond with my little ones. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing my children happy in outdoors!

16. Favourite city, any particular highlights?
It is quite challenging to choose just one favourite city, but if I had to, I would choose Paris. The city’s charm and beauty never fail to captivate me, from the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, to the quaint cafes and cobblestone streets of Montmartre. The culinary scene in Paris is unparalleled, which makes it a must-visit destination for anyone with a sweet tooth.

17. Your greatest indulgence?
My greatest indulgence in desserts must be anything chocolate. There’s something about the combination of chocolate and rich flavours that never fails to satisfy my sweet tooth and leave me feeling completely content.

18. And finally, your all-time best culinary tip?
Always use high-quality ingredients. Whether it’s using real vanilla, fruits, or good quality chocolate, starting with top ingredients will elevate the taste and overall quality of your desserts. Quality ingredients make a noticeable difference in the final product and can take your dessert to the next level.

Photography: John Scolfield. Deer Mother Nature image @Chriszammit028 

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