With over 30 million followers on Tiktok and Instagram alone, Amaury Guichon has taken over social media with his show-stopping creations earning him titles like 'mad genius' and 'IRL Willy Wonka'.
The Cannes-born pastry chef began his culinary training when he was just 14 years old and, for the first two years, he studied savoury cooking at École Hôtelière Savoie Léman in Eastern France.
"I was introduced to pastry at age 16," Amaury told 10 Play, "even though I was young at the time, I could tell this was meant for me. I loved the feeling of transforming simple ingredients into products that people loved.
"That same year, I discovered that chocolate not only is delicious but could be used to create art," he said.
When he was 16, Amaury created his first chocolate showpiece during a competition. Embarking on a two-year apprenticeship in Geneva, Amaury went on to win local showpiece contests, and by 2010 he had been named one of the best apprentices in the Paris region by the MOF organisation.
After he competed on a French reality series that was looking for the next great pastry chef, Amaury was offered a role in Las Vegas where he began to build his social media empire. After 17 years within the industry, Amaury opened his own pastry school in Vegas, and recently starred as host, judge and mentor of Netflix's School of Chocolate.
Now, Amaury joins MasterChef's Melissa Leong in the hunt for Australia's first Dessert Master, with leading talents in pastry and sweet creations from across the country competing for $100,000 and the glory of the title.
"A master of dessert, to me, is someone with a deep understanding of all the elements that constitute a pastry," Amaury told 10 Play. "Someone who has a clear, distinct flavour, great complimentary textures and can craft décor that not only elevates the dessert but doesn't compromise on the taste aspect of it.
"Pretty much, someone that can bend pastry to their will."
Amaury's wizardry with pastry and chocolate can be seen across his social media where he creates stunning, edible sculptures that defy gravity, and are feats of engineering and functionality, all the while being ridiculously delicious. One of his latest and most ambitious projects was a 100 percent chocolate Velociraptor.
"On this piece, I wanted to challenge myself into creating something I thought could never work," Amaury explained. In another piece which he has a "particular special attachment to" took five days to make and required Amaury to create 2,000 chocolate feathers adorning a chocolate phoenix, recreating a showpiece he had done three years earlier.
"For the design, regardless of chef status, I think anyone should keep an open mind and listen to those around them as no one has a monopoly on good ideas," the chef said.
"I always listen to my team as I believe everyone can have great ideas. My strength is to make those ideas become a reality. When it comes to the pastry creation and the flavours, I try to work within the season to the best of my abilities and always pairing the design to the flavour on the inside."
In School of Chocolate, Amaury was a host, the judge and also a mentor, working with the contestants to enhance their skills and pushing them out of their comfort zones, challenging them to go above and beyond. He hopes to bring that mentoring to MasterChef: Dessert Masters.
"I think it is key, I am looking to not only judge but also being able to support and advise each contestant during the competition."
Joining Amaury is MasterChef's own Melissa Leong who said, "Desserts have the capacity to be magical. I’m excited to see what these talented chefs are capable of when let loose in the MasterChef kitchen.
"Creating a memorable dessert takes years of practice, technique and an exacting eye for detail. Throw people with these qualities into a place like the MasterChef kitchen and stand back… who knows what they will bring to life."
MasterChef: Dessert Masters is coming soon to 10 and 10 Play