July 2019 Featured Chef: Ksenia Penkina

 

Clement Design® is known around the globe in the chef industry. We not only take pride in providing premium quality chef jackets, but also in the chefs who wear our amazing brand. From outfitting executive & pastry chefs to high-end restaurants, resorts & clubs nationwide, we love to see and share success stories from our Clement Design USA chefs and businesses.

You've surely seen mirror-glaze cakes by now. These edible cakes are pieces of art in themselves. The super glossy, bright colors blend together to create a final product that looks almost too beautiful to eat. Although the style made it's appearance in late 2015 we didn't see much of it online until Ksenia Penkina began making her rounds on the internet. Since starting you can find hundreds of immaculate glazed cake videos and pictures on her social media. Not only does she show the decadent glaze pours but you can actually learn how to re-create these beautiful cakes with her online courses. 

Ksenia Penkina is a young, passionate and experienced Pastry Professional and Entrepreneur based in Vancouver, Canada. After receiving her degree in Switzerland, she continued to develop her passion and knowledge for Patisserie. Along her journey, she learned from the most respected Pastry Chefs and Schools around the globe. Being artistic, analytical and organized, she has been transforming this knowledge into unique approach with a personal, magical touch. Even today Ksenia does not stop learning and striving to develop herself, constantly educating her palette, skills and techniques. Mainly focusing on the inside world of the dessert, understanding of the chemistry behind it, and a process of product integration.

Ksenia’s famous Mirror Glazed cakes with multiple colors and effects has been taking over the internet, nominating her with a shiny title “Glazing Queen”. Ksenia comments: “People would know me for my glazing style and I am highly attentive to it. I must say, glazing is my favourite part. However, the most important part is the cake itself.” Ksenia is passionate about contributing and sharing her mastery, illustrating her vision to individuals around the world. As well as creating a one of a kind teaching concept uniquely designed to bring the professional knowledge to any person who enjoys baking. The success of this concept led Ksenia to develop comprehensive Online Classes and technical Hands On Master Classes around the world. Students are able to study in any country, at any time, starting from “Beginner” level.

Ksenia has succeeded in and continues to work on her various projects today:

2017

– Worldwide Online Classes and Extensive Student Network communication.

– International Hands On Master Class Instructor, in countries such as Spain, Portugal, Romania, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Thailand, India, Mexico, and Russia.

2018

– Continuous Hands On Master Classes at her headquarters in Vancouver, Canada.

– Collaboration with Italy’s Silikomart and release of two signature silicone moulds GEMMA and Mini-GEMMA.

– Launched signature brand of Haute [ōt] Food Colors, featuring a full range of both water soluble and oil soluble colors.

– Launched Haute [ōt] Online Pastry Shop. Presenting Haute [ōt] Food Colors, premium & unique ingredients, cake silicone moulds, equipment for the professional and home kitchen.

2019

– Released her first recipe book with Russian publisher, 3000 copies sold out in two days.

– Launched high end Perfume Keep Glazed as a collaboration with Italian company Thoo House of Oud. Perfume & Dessert were created in mutual scent, flavour & design.

Q1: What inspired you to become a pastry chef?

A: Since I was a child I never stopped creating. I had gone through limitless amount of arts and hobbies until I found my passion in patisserie. Starting from simple knitting and painting, writing and acting, video production and editing, photography and design, web site development and marketing - throughout my teenage years I was using my hobbies to try to define myself.

My passion for patisserie and specifically entremets began when I saw a work of my sister - pastry chef Alexandra. I was impressed with the beauty of her desserts and how flawless they were on the outside. I later realized how smart and challenging the inside world is. Its like you meet a perfect partner, who is not only handsome, but also intelligent. And thats how I met my partner in crime - the work that I love.

Having my degree in Switzerland I was introduced to an extensive kitchen and all of the basic ingredients, tools and equipment for the first time. Kitchen became limitless, it is free, challenging and creative. It moves me to learn and constantly develop myself and my skills. Kitchen is my “canvas”, tools are my “brushes”, ingredients are my “colors” - I create the “painting” of my dreams.

Q2: Your first pastry Instagram post was on January 8, 2016. What inspired you to start sharing your work on social media and did you ever expect this amount of success to follow?

A: That is such a nice question, it reminded me of the beginning of my pastry journey which was very hard, but so satisfying every single day. I knew back then that I would have many followers (375k), and I hope to reach a million in the future. I began posting because at the time I had my art, my pastry, and I really wanted to share it, develop it, and build a community. Social networks were right there, easy to reach for me and a good platform to share my ideas and visions!

Q3: We've all seen the beauty of your mirror-glazed cakes but there is often amazing pairings and flavors hidden inside. What influences the ingredients you use when creating a new piece? Is there any sort of composition you've been scared to try? Do you have one you find to be most unique?

A: I strive to create balance in my recipes, a combination of which creates an incredible tasting experience. Balance in textures: fruity, soft, creamy, spongy & airy. Balance in flavours: sour, sweet, acidic, spicy. All in one piece on the spoon to enjoy. 

I am quite simple with my selection of flavors, creating recipes with usual ingredients, like orange, chocolate, coffee, strawberry, passion fruit, and coconut. Something that most people are pretty familiar with.

I would like to try some unusual recipes one day, like with beetroot or tomato in the cake, I know it does taste amazing, but I am not sure if those unique flavors bring as much attention as some classics. In my opinion, people like to consume flavors that they are familiar with and understand.

Q4: We would love to know more about your product line and Haute [ōt]! Do you have anything else in the works right now? Have you been approached by an English publisher yet and will we see your book on the shelf in America anytime soon?

A: Haute [ōt] professional food colors has been such a hit for bakers and pastry chefs all around the world. We have shipped thousands of color jars since its release this year. It is incredible how popular they have become and I am beyond proud to be a part of it. It is the only powder food color of its type!

Unique expert production creates exclusive color shades that are high intensity and dissolve easily. Haute [ōt] food colors are certified, have no flavor or smell, and do not affect the texture of your product at all. You can find the whole line on Haute [ōt] Online Pastry Shop at byhaute.com, we also have tools, ingredients and molds for bakers and pastry professionals.

I was thinking to work on my professional recipe book next year, because I know how much people are waiting for it and asking me about it every day. I do think there may be a possibility to release the book at the end of the year. We'll see ;) as of right now I have many projects going on but they are currently a secret. 

Q5: Your work has allowed you to travel all over the world. From teaching master classes with chef Gregory Doyen in Vancouver, Canda to hands-on master classes in Bangkok, Thailand. Do you ever find yourself wanting to vacation at any of these amazing places you've visited, work aside? Would you mind sharing a memorable experience during one of your trip or masterclasses?

A: Yes! I want to vacation all the time but I love my job and the drive it gives me, so I can't stop working and creating more amazing projects and desserts. Most of my international classes are in Europe, Asia, or the Middle East. It is most often a 12 hour time difference from my hometown in Vancouver Canada. I usually take one extra day during my work trips, so I am able to adjust to the time difference and prepare myself for the classes.

I don't have a favorite country or city, I enjoy each place on its own, its always unique with culture and experiences. Most of my classes are in big cities but if we are talking about vacation I personally prefer to lay on the beach all day. So for that reason I have to take a trip to some hot destination so I could relax. 

If you want to learn more about Ksenia Penkina or even learn how to recreate her amazing mirror-glazed style you can visit her website

We wanted to thank Ksenia Penkina for taking the time to speak with us and do a Q&A. We hope you all got a glimpse of what inspires and drives Ksenia's success. Be sure to follow her @ksenia.penkina for some of the most amazing mirror-glazed videos and pictures you can find. Comment below if you've seen Ksenia's creations before or if she has inspired you to get into the pasty arts.

In addition be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with our featured chef Q&A and to get all the latest savings and offers available. View the video below to see Ksenia's process when creating a one of her beautiful cakes!