Photographs by Ilian.

Bulgarian born Elitza graduated in Sofia and started her career in professional cooking, gaining experience in some of the finest international hotel chains as a chef confectioner. Whilst at the Hilton Sofia and Park Hotel Moscow, she became a member of the Bulgarian national culinary team as well as a member of the board of directors on the Bulgarian Association of professional chefs. She has competed in culinary competitions all over the world, gaining not only medals but also a reputation as an artist and perfectionist. In 2010 she established her own business Dark & Milk Ltd., a boutique chocolate and cakes shop where she prepares a variety of exquisite handmade chocolate creations.

What are some of your proudest achievements in the culinary world? My proudest professional achievements to date are being a part of the national culinary team, and participating in the World Cup and Culinary Olympics. My other great achievement is establishing my own business, Dark & Milk Ltd. – my dream come true.

What is the culinary scene in Bulgaria like? Over the last 7 to 8 years the level of cooking has evolved tremendously with the standards improving to follow international trends in gastronomy. There are a lot of new products that are now available to us in Bulgaria, and the focus has turned to the presentation of a dish which obviously gives great excitement and pleasure to the guest.

What are the patisserie trends in Bulgaria? In Bulgaria there is great emphasis on artistic decoration created by the pastry chefs and more customers are impressed by the cakes and chocolate figures made with many decorations, wedding cakes with sugar flowers and lace, or kids cakes with cartoon characters handmade from sugar paste.

What are your favourite products to work with? One of my favorite products is, of course, chocolate. I wanted to work mainly with chocolate and focused my business around it. I think it’s great how many benefits there are to working with chocolate, and there is very little wastage (excluding what is eaten by the staff and me!). I love to experiment and I use a lot unusual flavour combinations, such as sea salt, ginger, blue cheese and bacon, and even red hot chilli peppers!

*Article from The Culinary Artist, Issue 2

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