Works at: Polska European Bakery & Chocolate
Qualifiers: best Chocolate to Go concept and moulded praline
Slawomir Korczak discovered his passion for pastry at a young age while working at a small family-run catering business. His hunger for knowledge and travelling lead him to explore London where he took up the position of pastry chef at the Balans restaurant, only to return to Poland and become a graduate of Kurt Scheller’s Culinary Academy. He subsequently worked as a pastry chef as a member of the team responsible for the launch of Hotel Rialto: the first luxury boutique hotel in Warsaw (Poland).
Marrying a Mexican woman encouraged Slawomir to learn about the country and culture of his wife, and lead him to found a catering and consulting business in Mexico. He even provided catering services for the actors and production team of the Zorro movie that was being shot at San Luis Potosí at the time.
After dedicating a few years of his professional career to sharing his knowledge with students at several Mexican universities, Slawomir travelled the world with a clear mission to hone his chocolate and pastry techniques to perfection, learning the tricks of the trade from renowned chefs like, among many others, Stephane Leroux, Christophe Morel, Luis Robledo, Jean-Marie Auboine and Jérôme Langillier.
He then returned to San Luis Potosí to co-found the culinary university Instituto Culinario Danieli and designed a unique programme with international internships for the students.
Today, Slawomir is the chef-owner of ‘Polska European Bakery & Chocolate’, a culinary boutique where people from all over Mexico come to enjoy artisan European bread, chocolate delicacies and pastries.
In the words of Slawomir Korczak:
Where does my passion for chocolate stem from?
I believe that chocolate is one of the most amazing ingredients in the world. You have to really understand the product that offers you the possibility to create so many different recipes, ranging from a simple chocolate bar to an elaborate dessert.
Recently I made my first Or Noir chocolate and it was one the most amazing experiences in my life. Getting to know the different types of cocoa beans from around the world and discovering their flavours brought me closer to the product. It is very interesting to see how you can gather people around a table to enjoy a chocolate dessert, bonbons or even hot chocolate and see their faces radiate with enjoyment.
I think the most important thing in life is to enjoy what you are doing. When I work with chocolate, I always try it, so I can get an idea of its flavours and the combinations I can make with it. The smell of the chocolate laboratory always catches your attention and arouses your curiosity.
Why do I participate in the World Chocolate Masters?
It is a unique competition. It pushes you to the limit, making you better in every possible way. It is really hard but entirely worth it. When you see the work of the other competitors, you can only think about making yours even better. Your point of view changes constantly as you get to know more and more about the competition and the other participants. It requires so much dedication that not many people have the opportunity to experience it. The world is going to watch you, so you have to show your very best. From now on, many things can change in your career so it is the time to push yourself even more. I have followed the competition for a few years and it was my goal to participate. Experiencing it as a spectator differs greatly from being part of it. It is really amazing.
How do I prepare for the World Chocolate Masters?
Firstly, I got to know the rules, got rid of any doubts and drew up a working plan. Then I set up a budget to avoid getting surprised during the process, and set down my objectives and priorities. My secret is to start with the subject I consider the most difficult. That way I start feeling freer and comfier with the rest of my tasks as I progress.
Physically I lost some weight as I have been eating healthier and exercising, considering that this competition is not only about skills but about endurance as well. You spend so many hours practising how to crystallise what is in your mind into chocolate. Another tip is to choose your team wisely and don’t give up: sometimes things take more and longer than you expect.
Once I had everything established, I started creating each product to define its flavours and try out several combinations. Final insider tip: write down every little detail of what you find interesting.
How do I plan on convincing the jury members?
The jury members are well-known international Chefs, so there is no place for mistakes. My creations will speak for themselves, but I am prepared to show my vision and how much I got involved in the competition along with the passion that comes with it.
What do I hope to learn from this experience?
It has already been a very interesting experience. I am so anxious to learn from the other contestants, from their way of thinking and their different points of view. I know I am a better person now and I hope this experience has made me a better professional as well.