Things are not what they seem on the plates of chef Ben Churchill. His food art is an ongoing series of optical illusions that conceal delicious desserts under the guise that they’re inanimate objects or completely different dishes. Chef Ben Churchill has been specializing in creating stunning illusions out of desserts that can resemble other foods and everyday objects.
TIMES OF YOUTH: For those who do not know you, could you describe yourself and your work in brief?
BEN CHURCHILL: I create what I call food illusion, desserts designed to trick the mind and senses. Thus ranges from video game and film desserts like my edible iron throne all the way to desserts to challenge good taste like my ashtray.
TIMES OF YOUTH: They call you the ‘Food Illusionist’ based on your innovative and realistic creations. How and when did it all start?
BEN CHURCHILL: It started just over 2 years ago. I’ve been a chef for over 10 years but never touched pastry. I decided to learn the basics but decided to move into mimetic food, just to see what could be done. This gave me the bug to start teaching myself more and more.
TIMES OF YOUTH: From where do you draw inspiration to design the new dishes?
BEN CHURCHILL: It can come from anywhere. A film, emotion, the world around me, pop culture. Anywhere.
TIMES OF YOUTH: What has been your most delicious recipe ever?
BEN CHURCHILL: My favourite is the iron throne for sure. It’s been refined over 2 years to what it is now. Plus I’m a huge game of thrones fan. It’s made of cake and chocolate, sprayed silver and filled with strawberry that bleeds out when cut.
TIMES OF YOUTH: In being a now renowned pastry chef, how has the journey been so far? What glitches do you regret and cherish the most?
BEN CHURCHILL: It’s been great. Hard work but great. Putting my videos online means you are always scrutinized so you’ve gotta have thick skin. But I love making people happy and making people think how I think. Why can’t you make a dessert in an ashtray?
TIMES OF YOUTH: Which cuisine do you favor/relate to the most?
BEN CHURCHILL: Any and all to be honest. The world is an exciting place. The UK is definitely holding its own with exciting chefs and dishes.
Times of Youth: What do you prefer to do when you’re not cooking?
BEN CHURCHILL: My family takes up all my time. I have a wife and daughter who are so supportive. I couldn’t do this without them. Other than that working on my second book.
TIMES OF YOUTH: Rapid fire-
(One word answers)
TIMES OF YOUTH: Your ‘Creme eggs’ recipe has acquired cult status after the online video went viral. How do you feel about it?
BEN CHURCHILL: Great! I’m so glad to inspire. That’s what I want to get people pushing themselves.
TIMES OF YOUTH: Which has been the most unforgettable moment/feedback in your scrumptious journey?
BEN CHURCHILL: Definitely getting my book out. Completely self produced and self published. So much went into it but I couldn’t be prouder.
TIMES OF YOUTH: If you could invite any three people, dead or alive, for dinner, who would they be and why?
BEN CHURCHILL: Good one. Anthony Bourdain would be one, more poignant now he’s passed but I’ve always wanted to grab a beer with him. His writing is superb and definitely had an influence on my writing style. Tom hardy would be interesting such an awesome actor but seems down to earth. Albert Adria I’d love to see into his mind.
TIMES OF YOUTH: What advice would you give to young aspiring chefs via TIMES OF YOUTH?
BEN CHURCHILL: F*ck the rules. Do what you want to do. Always imagine and always follow your heart. If you can dream it you can do it.
Chef Ben Churchill – Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/thefoodillusionist/