Tradecraft takes Scout readers into the workshops, kitchens, and toolkits of Vancouver’s most talented crafts-people. From trusty pencils and custom-built machines to good luck charms and bespoke chef’s knives, this new column aims to get to the bottom of every creative attachment. No laptops or cellphones allowed!
Today we hear from one of Canada’s most celebrated and award-winning chocolatiers, Thomas Haas, whose North Shore and West Side stores are almost as legend as the man himself. We can’t help but envision all things Wonka-esque whenever we imagine his magical kitchens, but we suspect they’re actually more like pristine laboratories where precision is everything and excellence is the order of the day, every day. Here are Thomas’ three key tools that get the job done:
1 | Thermometer: “Everything chocolate is temperature sensitive. Without precisely measuring the temperature of our chocolate, consistent results are very difficult to achieve. For instance, when making ganache we measure the temperature of our individual ingredients before we even begin to blend them together.”
2 | Stephan Vacuum Blixer: “This is one of my favourite pieces of kitchen machinery. A Vacuum Blixer will remove the air from our chocolate ganache, which results in less oxidization of any fat and creates a denser and more flavourful ganache that has a longer shelf life. This vacuumed ganache forms the basis of many of our chocolates, truffles, chocolate caramels and cakes. Needless to say, we take our ganache very seriously.”
3 | Offset Spatula: “This tool is essential for any chocolate maker. Whether you’re spreading, tempering or levelling chocolate, the flat metal end of this spatula makes work so much smoother. These spatulas come in many sizes — small spatulas are good for distributing chocolate evenly over a cake, while large spatulas are perfect for spreading chocolate evenly over big surfaces when I’m working in the shop.”