All I need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt
Away from his day job as airline pilot, 2018 Masterchef finalist David Crichton’s been hard at work perfecting a new line of chocolates
Article by Catherine Ferguson
While life as an airline pilot may seem pretty busy already, David Crichton’s latest adventures took him down an altogether different path, all the way to the Masterchef Finals in 2018. Not content to sit on his laurels, David followed his passion as a chocolatier and has recently launched ‘The Careless Collection’ from his development kitchen in Cheadle Hulme, Manchester.
With his luxury handmade chocolate range, David promises something a little bit different, “the flavours are quite unusual and not what you would expect, but I wanted to push the boundaries of sweet, savoury, herbal, floral tastes, textures and aromas and combine them in a way that hasn’t been done before,” he says.
While David’s approach to chocolate-making promises innovative, inspired new textures and flavours, he prefers his cooking to be a little more traditional. “During my time on Masterchef, I wish I hadn’t spent as much time trying to re-invent cooking. I would have been better off sticking to tried and tested recipes found in a good book,” he tells us.
David believes that for many chefs, the art of chocolate-making is something of an enigma, with a bit of science thrown in. “Chocolate is a mystery to most people and many chefs. Chefs aren’t taught it at culinary school, so a lot never learn the skills. I love the challenge of it. It amazes me what you can do with it. I’m a pilot in my ‘day job’, and I find that working with chocolate is very similar to flying in that so many little things can affect the outcome. To get it right, everything has to be in order. Only difference is one is chemistry and the other is physics.”
In his chocolate-making, David sees texture and flavour as the ultimate bedfellows. “I hate chocolate truffles,” he says, “They are so boring. One texture, one/two flavours if they aren’t drowned by the chocolate. Hence my bars are always on the limit of texture and flavour combinations. Take the classic dark bar, for example. Texturally we start with a hard thin snappy shell, you then go to the opposite in texture with an almost liquid salted caramel. The salt takes over, until you get into the rich ganache with a slightly fruity olive oil and then the palate is cleansed at the end with a hint of the balsamic vinegar. You really have to concentrate when you eat them!”
The Careless Collection comes as four bars in freshly tempered chocolate shells: The Dark, The Milk, The Ruby and The White, so there’s a little something for everyone.
Quite literally the cream of the crop for me was The Milk – single origin Venezuelan 43.5% cocoa shell, filled with toasted coconut and lime. The chocolate was wonderfully creamy, while the coconut was just sweet enough and perfectly balanced against the merest hint of lime. The Ruby also hit the spot, using a unique, naturally occurring ruby cocoa bean to top off a rich dark chocolate ganache with floral notes of rose and lychee. A ‘must’ for Turkish delight lovers.
Keen to combine his love of aviation and food, David is currently making plans to sell The Careless Collection on board as a pre-order and hopes, one day, to be involved in re-developing passenger food. In the meantime, he’s brimming over with ideas for his next sweet-toothed adventure.
‘I have too many ideas, although I need to put more time into the chocolate. The plan is to launch different collections. An alcoholic one, a coffee shop based collection, a fruit collection, a black collection featuring the most renowned dark chocolate, and more. I also love making ricciarelli cookies, an Italian biscuit from Siena. These are ideas I can and should do. Everything else in my head should stay there for now.”
Enquiries: The Careless Collection/ thecarelesscollection.co.uk