Fred Csibi-Levin is a Ph.D. scientist turned pastry chef. He has over a decade of experience in the pharmaceutical industry leading drug discovery projects and has always been intrigued by the complexity involved with making desserts.
During his baking journey, he initially focused a lot of attention on French macarons, known for being particularly difficult to bake. He spent countless hours experimenting, trying to understand how ingredients, equipment, temperature, humidity, etc. can all contribute to making a successful (or unsuccessful!) macaron. This opened his eyes to a whole new perspective on the science of baking and, as a scientist, he got hooked.
At the same time, he also began to discover his creative and artistic side. He then decided to attend pastry school at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, in Boston, MA. Since then, he has worked in the hospitality sector in the Boston area, he was the head pastry chef at Jonquils Cafe and has developed his brand, which focuses on different aspects of consulting, education, training, recipe development, and content creation.
Fred’s work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Tastemade, the Pastry Arts Magazine, among others; he has competed on the Food Network and his social media channels have amassed over 200K followers.
Get to know Fred
What is your favourite cocoa-based dessert?
A multi-layered dessert like an entremets, in which the cocoa is showcased in multiple ways providing depth and balance of flavours.
What would be your top tip for using cocoa for other pastry professionals?
Understand the properties of the types of cocoa (e.g., water absorption, pH, flavour) to select and manipulate the one that is consistent with the intended use for a particular dessert that you wish to make.
What are your favourite flavours to use alongside cocoa in your pastry creations?
When conceiving a new dessert, I think of how to balance flavours, when using cocoa, I like to include citrus, spices/herbs, and salt, which will provide harmony of flavours.
Which is your favourite product from the deZaan range?
It is hard to select a favourite given the high quality of deZaan’a products. I truly enjoy using Carbon Black cocoa in a variety of pastries, including choux pastry, sponge cakes and glazes. Its striking colour and deep flavour are always a crowd pleaser.
What do you like the most about using deZaan cocoa powders?
I truly like the flavour, aroma, and quality of deZaan’s cocoa powders. Their range and versatility make them suitable for a plethora of applications, pushing the boundaries of how cocoa is used in pastry, making it the star of any dessert.