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L'Ecole Valrhona Pastry Chef Sarah Tibbetts' Decoration Tips

L'Ecole Valrhona Pastry Chef Sarah Tibbetts' Decoration Tips

Hello! My name is Sarah Tibbetts, L’Ecole Valrhona Pastry Chef. As one of the Valrhona Pastry Chefs, my main mission is to educate and to show chefs and non-professionals, how to use chocolate and different techniques.

Decoration Tips

So I’d like to show you several techniques using tempered chocolates that you can use to garnish cakes, entreme’s plated desserts using very simple tools that will elevate the level of decor. So for decor, I recommend using guitar sheets - these are slightly more flexible than acetate and are much better for chocolate decor.

Decoration Tips - Use Guitar Sheets

Once I have my guitar sheet to the proper size, I want to take neutral oil and put a small quantity on the table so that my guitar sheet adheres to the surface. The first technique that I’m going to show you is using something as simple as a glass.

Decoration Tips - Using Guitar Sheets

In this case, I’m gonna to use a very small verrine and I’m just going to dip it into my tempered chocolate to make an imprint on the guitar sheet and then I’m just going to stamp the guitar sheet once and... twice.

Decoration Tips - Guitar Sheet and Glass

You’ll notice at the first imprint a slightly thicker with the second imprint being slightly thinner. I’m going to place this on a separate tray and let it crystallize until it’s completely hardened.

Decoration Tips - Glass

So the next technique is making leaves or feathers with the guitar sheet and a small paring knife. I dip the paring knife into my tempered chocolate, cleaning the excess, pressing down slightly, and then pulling up.

Decoration Tips Using Small Knife

You can make these larger or smaller, depending on the size of your knife or you can put them into a tray in order to give them a curved effect.


Decoration Tips - Using Knife to Make Feathers

You can set this in a cool place and let it crystallize until it’s hardened. The last technique will be using two guitar sheets and a bicycle cutter.

Decoration Tips - Guitar Sheets

This is the best way to get a lot of decor, very easily and quickly. So once I have my one guitar sheet adhered to the table, I have a second one - in this case it has the logo on it, so this is a cocoa butter logo.

Guitar Sheet with Logo

Then I’ll take my tempered chocolate and pour it on to the first guitar sheet and then place the second guitar sheet on top, cocoa butter side down.

Chocolate Decoration Tips - Guitar Sheet

Then I’m going to take a PVC pipe or a rolling pin and spread a thin layer of chocolate between the two guitar sheets essentially just pushing the chocolate in between.

Chocolate Design Tips

Once this chocolate begins to crystallize, then I can start to imprint it. Simply press firmly in one direction and then cutting the other direction to create a square, a rectangle, or any other design.

Chocolate Design Tips

Then you can use a round cutter or a cutter on any other shape and press firmly, to get a round shape.You can also use the back of the paring knife, the back of the paring knife works best. The front is too sharp and therefore will cut through the guitar sheets.

Using Back Knife to Decorate

Using the back of the paring knife, allows you to get a little bit more of an abstract shape.

Decoration Tips using Guitar Sheets

The great part about using the two guitar sheets is that you get shine on both sides. You also don’t get kind of the retraction of tempered chocolate so your decor is always going to be very, very flat.

Beautiful Design Chocolates

You can use these techniques with any tempered chocolate - from white, milk or dark. So these are just a few examples of what you can use to make chocolate decor. I encourage you to experiment with chocolate, tempered chocolate and decor is a great way to put your personal touch and creative spin on any finished dessert or entremet. It really takes your dessert to the next level in a really simple way.


You can watch the video on their Youtube Channel: Valrhona USA

Previous article How To Be A Creative Pastry Chef by Kirsten Tibballs

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