An appetite among restaurant and hotel operators to increase the diversity of flavours and textures within their dessert menus is fuelling demand for specialist training in areas such as gelato.
The art of being able to develop multi-textured, on-trend desserts typically relies on a combination of precise timings, perfect temperatures and pristine ingredient consistency, according to equipment manufacturer Carpigiani, which reports a rise in the number of professionals partaking in its training courses.
Carpigiani now offers an education programme that teaches foodservice professionals how to produce artisan gelato from their kitchens, and sales director Scott Duncan says there have been some clear trends when it comes to the type of operators that have embraced it so far.
“Restaurant and hotel groups and operators seem to have been the most frequent sector to have grasped this opportunity to date,” he revealed. “Pastry chefs are the obvious target audience and businesses seem to be reinvesting in pastry teams to develop and improve their sweet offer. Although chefs made have learned the basics at catering college, having the opportunity to learn about the science of gelato and how gelato works with things like alcohol and infusions seems to be really eye-opening for them.”
Mr Duncan said the growth of concepts such as multi-sensory ‘Petits Fours’ or miniature ‘Café Gourmand’ creations is proof that customers are willing to pay more for premium desserts and that the potential profits for operators are “substantial” if they get the formula right.
Carpigiani opened a development centre in Park Royal, London, last year and it serves as a hub for its gelato retail courses and ‘Gelato University – Foodservice Professionals’ programmes, a series of dedicated courses and qualifications teaching the art of gelato to professional chefs from across the world.
Its training and development chef, Michele Stanco, uses the centre to teach small groups of professional chefs about key dessert skills, with modules this year including ‘gelato with infusions and alcohol’; ‘working with chocolate’; gelato pastry (combining gelato and traditional pastry); and gelato on a plate (multi-textured dessert creation).
“Our new London development centre was a key investment for us, and a response to our customers’ increasing requests for help with menu development, product innovations and recipe formulation,” added Duncan.