The best thing about making pastry is, well, the sweets, of course! Interview with a Culinary arts academy alumni
Something that started as an afterschool hobby is now taking Lina to compete at an international level. Since finishing the Pastry & Chocolate Arts programme in Switzerland, Lina has interned in Hong Kong, went back to Sweden, joined a local hotel as a pastry chef, and became a proud member of a regional culinary team. Next in her plans, she says, is the gold medal and more cream-whipping.
Most people make food every day but rarely do they find it enjoyable. Why do you find it so fascinating, and more specifically – why pastry?
I think it’s how it all starts with one ingredient and then from there on – the possibilities are endless. Often you don’t even know how something will turn out in the end. That’s the fun part about doing the pastry. Also, I simply love sweets!
As someone who finds a lot of inspiration on Instagram, can you predict the trends in pastry for 2022?
Last year’s trend I think was using a 3D printer to make tuiles. People are curious about finding ways to include the latest technology in baking. Therefore, I believe this trend will continue this year as well.
Have you tried using 3D printing in cooking yourself?
Yes, once. I did a crown-looking tuile which was a lot of fun! I am keen to try again.
What was the proudest moment for you as a chef?
When I got accepted at Skåne Kulinar – a national culinary team that promotes regional food culture and participates in international competitions. It was a big achievement for me because the competition was very tough.
Congratulations! It is indeed a big honour to represent your region and the whole country, too!
How did you decide to join the team?
I was always curious to know how it feels to compete professionally. With the pandemic and the type of work that I do, I had more free time on my hands. So I finally decided to test new grounds.
Next year we are going to compete in the Culinary World Cup 2022 – the international competition for chefs of many categories, including chocolate, dessert plating and more. We practise a lot. We are striving for the gold, of course!
Would you ever consider doing TV competitions like Hell’s kitchen?
I would, I’m quite competitive!
What do you think makes a really good chef?
I think the most important qualities are experience, creativity and open-mindedness, flavor-wise. Almost every time I try an idea, it ends up looking way different than how I imagined it. Mistakes are inevitable and, actually, very recommended. It takes time and willingness to experiment before you can cook with certainty.
How did the culinary program at Culinary arts academy help to shape who you are today?
It has made me grow a lot as a person. I discovered things about myself that I didn’t even know before, which has helped me on the way.
I went from knowing almost nothing about how to make, for example, Italian meringues or pralines to being able to pick and choose from the many different techniques for each dish. So it has helped me to improve as a chef. And then when I did my internship in Hong Kong for six months, I learned first-hand about the processes of working at a hotel. The program is a good start if you aim for something bigger in life.
Why did you want to study in Switzerland and not at a local school?
If you compare Swiss and Swedish pastry programs, Sweden seems to focus more on the regional traditional confectionary. Swiss programmes, on the other hand, are more modern and include recent trends like fine plating and such. That’s what I wanted to do.
To wrap up on a fun note, Gordon Ramsey and Victoria, the crown princess of Sweden walk into your restaurant – what do you make them for dessert?
A Prinsesstårta, but coated in gold. And then I would hope Gordon Ramsey would shout at me and give me critique. That would be so much fun!
Thank you Lina for a mouthwatering conversation. Best of luck at the culinary competition this year!