A passion for desserts all started as a child ‘experimenting’ with chocolate mice for the talented head pastry chef, Darryl Collins at Resorts World Birmingham
Tell us about your cooking
I believe that hard work and a good understanding of flavours and techniques is all you need (plus a little determination and persistence). Chocolate is my love and I always try to put at least two chocolate desserts on the menu. My love for chocolate has been with me since a child when I experimented which chocolate mice, much to my mother’s disappointment. Since using quality chocolate, I have developed a bigger love for the cocoa bean. Being from Trinidad we’d often eat these but at the time we didn’t know what we were eating – we just took the sweet, slimy part of the bean and we’d chuck the rest.
How did you become a chef?
I was a self-taught pastry chef who started my career in Cornwall. I was washing pots but soon found myself involved in pastry and went on to become the fourth chef at Tredragon Hotel in Newquay, which held one rosette at the time. After leaving Cornwall, I was head pastry chef at Welcombe Hotel in Stratford, the Lygon Arms in Broadway and Billesley Manor, Alcester followed by a short stint at Bakkavor. I’m now head of pastry at Resorts World Birmingham in charge of six other pastry chefs. It’s a job I love; teaching my colleagues new techniques while teaching myself along the way. You’re never too old to learn.
What do you eat when at home?
With two little boys and a wife there’s always hungry bellies to feed but we love the classics – soup, bolognaise and the ultimate favourite, Sunday lunch.
Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum?
To focus on just one chef worldwide seems a little unfair given the talent, I do however have some personal favourites. Nathan Outlaw will always be one due to his influence, and then my second favourite is American pastry chef Antonio Bachour, who’s exceptionally talented but remains so down to earth. Again, to choose one in Birmingham seems unfair but Glynn Purnell and his sous chef Luke Butcher are incredibly talented and great people too.
Is the customer, always right?
Yes… even when they’re wrong! We’re here to please – it’s called hospitality for a reason.
Share a cooking tip
This tip for crème anglaise was the result of rushing and having no other choice, thankfully it worked and I’ve used it for 15 years now. Take the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla and whisk until doubled. Bring milk to the boil until it’s close to the top of the pan and then drop your egg mixture into the pan while whisking (very fast). Remove from the heat and whisk. This shocks the eggs into reacting but prevents them scrambling. It’s also much quicker than the traditional method.
What was your favourite food as a kid?
Heinz tomato soup – and it’s still a guilty pleasure to this day!
Food heaven and food hell?
Hell are peas and sweet peppers. Heaven is fish and chips.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?
I’m a fussy eater so it’s limited but there’s the slimy mass I spoke of earlier inside the cocoa bean, which doesn’t look appealing but is one of the sweetest, most delicious flavours I’ve ever eaten. The second is the fruit of a cashew which looks like a bright pink pear – deliciously sweet and sour.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
I’m into photography so I would have gone down that road, maybe. I’m also a bit of a computer nerd and have training in network engineering, so perhaps I could have been a network engineer.
What do you recommend from this evening’s menu?
The current best-seller is the peanut parfait and I can see why, but all the deserts on the menu are worth a try.
DARRYL’S BROWNIE RECIPE
- 350g unsalted butter
- 250g dark chocolate
- 250g golden caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 135g plain flour
- 30g cocoa powder
- 40g white chocolate
- 40g milk chocolate
- 50g roasted hazelnuts
Place butter and dark chocolate in pan over a bain marie on a low heat and allow to melt completely until butter and chocolate are well combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Sift flour and cocoa powder together. In a large mixer, place sugar and eggs, whisk until thick and pale (double in size). While still whisking, poor in melted chocolate mixture until just combined, remove from mixer. Fold in flour and cocoa powder with a large whisk, do not over fold mixture. Add chopped chocolate and roasted hazelnuts, fold in gently. Cook at 175c for 20 mins (even crust will form on top). Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.