'Inspiration can come from anywhere'

'Inspiration can come from anywhere'

'Inspiration can come from anywhere'
As a child, Elaine Young spent much of her time in the kitchen, whipping up a storm and getting her hands messy with flour, butter and sugar.

Not that much has changed since then — she still holds a passion for baking but these days, the consultant pastry chef/chocolatier finds herself country-hopping and experimenting with delectables from all over the world. What started out as a hobby has now turned into love affair for the culinary arts.

Elaine was in Bengaluru recently to work with ‘Bliss Chocolates’. She spent a good amount of time searching the crevices of the City for the right essences to add to her chocolate creations. Right from India’s strongest spices to a variety of nuts, she tried and tasted everything before she mixed them with her cocoa delights. After her visit to MTR, she was inspired to create new and out-of-the-box flavours — chocolates infused with ‘masala’ curry powder and cashew nuts, ‘garam masala’ coated chocolate nuts and more.

Talking about her time in Bengaluru, she says, “This is my first time in India. When I told people I’d be coming  here, they told me about the vast cultural differences I would encounter and warned me of the crowds and weather. But when I came here, it wasn’t as bad as they made it out to be! I have spent time in Asia and the Western countries, so it wasn’t that big a shock for me. We have the same values in Philippines — we respect each other immensely and are polite and hospitable. I also love the flavours that can be found here.”  

Calling her days spent in India a “two-way street”, Elaine adds, “I want to share with Europe the experiences I had in India. Just before coming here, I was in France, Belgium, Germany and Sweden, so I’m just making food memories everywhere I go.” With each travel and experience, she sets about creating a new food item. “Inspiration can come from anywhere — whether you are on a vacation or out for work. And it’s not just a single moment that can inspire you, but the whole trip. Whether it’s a Michelin-star restaurant or authentic street food, the flavours just have to match in your head. And I want to share my experiences with people all over the world.”

It is this desire to travel that got her to where she is now (currently, she resides in Melbourne, Australia, and works for a culinary school).

“I have always been interested in baking, since a young age. But in 2000, a chef’s profession wasn’t one that was preferred. When I told my parents, right after high school, that I wanted to be a chef, they said no, so I worked as a marketing professional for a year. Later on, I asked them again and they agreed on the condition that I give them a clear-cut idea of my plans,” she says.

Though she could have started her own business in Philippines, she chose instead to move to Melbourne when she got the opportunity. This coincided with her plans to travel, and now she’s a consultant for companies all over.