A Chef’s Recipe for Success
Interview with the “Årets Konditor” (Swedish pastry chef of the year) 2022 Finalist
The vision of success is perhaps different for every individual. Being recognized by the culinary elite on a national level is, however, undoubtedly a proud moment for any chef. Andreas Modd, a young patissier with a handful of talent, says it is an absolute honour to compete in the finals of Sweden’s prestigious annual culinary competition Årets Konditor. Although he only graduated from the Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland a short while ago, the finalist has already established himself as a prominent figure in the culinary world.
In this interview, Andreas Modd discusses his perception of success, divulges the secret layers of a winning cake, and offers invaluable advice to aspiring chefs. Grab a sweet snack and enjoy reading!
Hi Andreas, congrats on getting to the finals of Årets Konditor 2022! Tell us about the process you had to go through to enter the finals.
Thank you! First, as a participant, you have to submit an original recipe for a cake. A jury then goes through all submissions and selects the most note-worthy entries for a semi-final, where they make the final selection. So to get the jury’s attention in the first round, one has to make something to grab their attention. It has to be visually appealing, demonstrate your skills well and, most importantly, be delicious.
The theme for Årets Konditor 2022 is “Idols”. What are your role models?
I’m incredibly inspired by skilful pastry chefs such as Frank Haasnoot and Antonio Bachour, to name a few. I appreciate how they think in terms of style, shapes, colour, and decorations, among other things.
Can you give us a clue about how you will try to wow the jury in the finals?
I want to offer some surprises and make my presentation more of a show than I did last time. I will work on presenting the products better and, of course, creating something that tastes so good that all you can say is wow!
What does it mean for you to be a finalist of Årets Konditor? What would it mean for you to win the competition?
It feels exciting and daunting at the same time to be in the finals. But mostly, I’m just very excited to come back and do everything better than last year. To win would be such an honour. To present food or pastries to someone is always very personal. And to have the country’s elite say they like it… it is indescribable.
What do you think helped you make it to the finals?
It all comes down to the cake I submitted – it was beautiful, yummy, and innovative. It showcased many different techniques and skills of mine, which helped me stand out from the crowd. Getting to where I am this fast is due to a lot of practising and reading. It has helped me master different techniques and deeply understand the important concepts of the culinary art.
How much do you think your education at the Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland led to your current success?
The teachers have given me a wealth of knowledge that helps me daily. They taught me to understand the recipes and not just how to follow them. One defining moment was when a Chef asked us what a bavaroise was. Then I suddenly got it… It is a creme Anglaise, set with gelatin, with cream folded into it. This way of understanding the recipes helps more than I can describe. When you know why you are doing something, it’s easier to do it correctly.
A huge part of studying at Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland is internships. What was your internship like? What did you learn there besides culinary skills?
I interned at Güntherska Hovkonditori in Uppsala, Sweden. Such a great place! I learned so much there. The most important lesson for me there was to see first-hand how the techniques are altered to fit a large-scale production.
You chose to intern in your home country. For someone who is currently considering going on an internship, would you recommend going local or abroad?
I’m not sure an internship abroad is better per se for chefs anyways. A mousse cake is a mousse cake in Dubai and Spain. That said, different cultures offer many valuable experiences outside of food making. Furthermore, it could look good on your cv. I would say, find a place that does the things you want to learn!
What would you describe as a successful career for a chef?
Everyone has their definition of success. I value autonomy, freedom and comfort. The quality of the education at Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland makes it possible to branch out to any area of the pastry world one wishes to pursue. The foundation is wide enough to become an ice cream expert, a baker, a high-end pastry chef, or a chocolatier, just to name a few possible career paths.
What were you like as a student? And what would you say to future Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland students that wish to become successful chefs?
I was attentive and curious, which, I believe, makes for an excellent student. To the future students, I’d say, make the most of the teachers. Ask questions and listen to their advice. Read, practice and experiment a lot. Don’t be afraid to fail or have bad ideas. Learn from your mistakes. Mistakes are necessary for growth and for discovering fantastic ideas!
Thank you, Andreas, for a mouthwatering conversation. We wish you good luck in the upcoming finals of Årets Konditor 2022!