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  • Writer's pictureSharon Wilson

Chocolatier & Pastry Chef, Jack Coghill, is Scotland’s answer to Willie Wonka!

Signature Festive Collection

With an incredible 4000 plus luxury, handmade chocolates sold last year, Chocolatier, Pastry Chef, and all-round Head Chef, Jack Coghill - the “Jack” in Jack O’ Bryans Bar & Kitchen in Dunfermline - is continuing his sweet success with the launch of his new signature 2023 festive chocolates selection.

Having been trained as a pastry chef by one of the country's finest, Mark Tilling, winner of the first series of the BBC’s Bake Off Creme de la Crème, and a two-time winner of the prestigious UK Chocolate Masters, Jack is successfully combining his love of artisan chocolates with covering every section of the very busy and successful restaurant that he runs with dad Bryan.

All of the freshly prepared desserts at Jack O’Bryans have been devised by Jack, with one of the most popular choices proving to be his Sticky Toffee - Jack’s take on the classic sticky toffee pudding. Using a delicious sticky toffee choux bun, instead of the usual sponge, combined with date & treacle cream, Scottish tablet, clotted cream ice cream, candied pecans & toffee sauce, this dessert is a masterpiece of both taste and presentation.

Black forest Gateau

Jack’s latest festive dessert creation, only available in December, is his version of a Black Forrest Gateau, a delectable Callebaut chocolate & cherry mousse cake, with vanilla chantilly, fresh black cherry, morello cherry sweet, his own honey yoghurt ice cream, fresh winter black truffle, and accompanied with a hot chocolate sauce served tableside - another simply incredible work of art!

To showcase his handmade chocolates, which can be purchased, beautifully boxed, in the restaurant, with customers choosing selections from a glass cabinet on the bar, Jack’s Chocolate Box is another popular option on the menu. A choice of four or six of Jack’s handmade chocolates is combined with tea, coffee, or hot chocolate to round off a meal at Jack O’Bryans in style.

“I started learning pastry because I wanted to push myself further,” said Jack. “With dad, a chef of forty years’ experience, and my mum Michelle, who is front of house at Jack O’ Bryans, encouraging me, I initially travelled to Squires Pastry School and Kitchen in Farnham, Surrey.”
“This is where I met Mark Tilling who has taught me everything regarding top class chocolate and pastry. He’s since become not just a close friend and mentor, but goddaughter to my two-year-old daughter Ivy.”

Continuing to attend the country’s top chocolate courses regularly, Jack is always widening his knowledge of the latest types of chocolate, together with the latest industry techniques from around the world, so that he can keep coming up with more wow factor creations.

His latest training was at the Callebaut Chocolate Academy and factory in Banbury Oxfordshire.

“I’ve very much enjoyed spending three days with Julie Sharp, Clare England and Mark Tiling, all of whom are Chocolate Artisan experts at Callebaut,” said Jack.
“The knowledge and skillset of everything to do with chocolate that they possess is mind-blowing. It’s such an honour and a pleasure to learn from the best in the industry.”
“It was a fantastic three days, as I love to keep learning,” continued Jack. “I enjoy the precision and skill required in creating delicate desserts and intricate chocolates. It is challenging for sure. You need plenty time to prepare ahead as a busy service can be hot and loud, pastry needs cool hands and a cool head! It is all about accuracy – a science really!”
“My pastry and chocolate skills are certainly an extra string to my bow,” said Jack. “They set Jack O’ Bryans apart as our clientele know that everything is made by me from scratch. Many restaurants don’t have a full time pastry chef, so the desserts can be sourced elsewhere.”
“I love to receive customers' feedback though, hearing what they think of my chocolates and desserts.”

Continued Jack, who says he always knew he would “end up being a chef: “My dad, who will celebrate forty years as a chef next year, trained me on all other sections in the kitchen, passing on his love of Iberian cuisine – the cuisine of Spain and Portugal.”

An aim for Jack now is to emulate Mark’s TV success and break into programmes and live demos.

Jack explained that planning for his festive season signature chocolates begins in September.

“Christmas is our busiest time for chocolate sales, so I get ahead of the game by devising new flavour combinations, sourcing ingredients, and thinking about decoration & any special techniques. We are delighted to have sold 4000 chocolates last year and it would be great to boost that figure for 2023,” he said.

Featuring in Jack’s 2023 Festive Collection are Rum & Raisin, Cherry Cognac, Cinnamon, Bailey’s Hot Chocolate, the After Dinner Mint and the Dulce de Leche – delicious and evocative flavours that conjure Christmas by the fireside!

“Christmas is a time for being with family and friends, along with being a time for reflection,” finished Jack. “It’s also a time to celebrate with a sprinkling of Indulgence, and there can be no better indulgence than chocolate and dessert!”

Jak was trained at the Callebaut Chocolate Academy

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