If you’re a talented enough artist, you can make just about anything look like it something it’s not. I’m sure most of us can attest to walking through a gallery and seeing a painting that’s impossibly lifelike. Aside from making us question our own artistic abilities (or lack thereof), such illusions can also tick us, and if they just so happen to involve food, they can confuse more than just our eyes but our taste buds too.
One chef who is nothing short of a wizard in this department is Ben Churchill. His specialty is creating desserts that look like other foodstuffs and everyday objects like plant pots and sponges. They’re not only visually stunning but a real surprise as their appearances make it almost impossible to tell what they taste like (a bit like Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans!). In short, they’re culinary masterpieces.
To see some of Ben’s incredible creations, check out the video below:
In an interview with the Metro, Ben opened up how he gets his ideas, explaining, “It can happen anywhere, I’ll just get an idea in my head, or be playing a video game and think ‘that would be cool to make into a dessert’. He then said that he calls his work “food illusions”, saying, “The term food illusion just came about as I was creating dishes that fooled the eater and viewer. Made to look like something it isn’t.”
1. Would you eat a soapy sponge?
Probably not, but I’m sure you’d make an exception for Ben’s olive old sponge cake with mint crumb, sweet milk foam, and baked apple puree.
2. How do you like your eggs in the morning?
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you might enjoy this “egg” – more accurately described as lemon drizzle cake, lemon sponge, Chantilly and lemon gel.
3. Beetroot dessert, anyone? Anyone?
Maybe you’ll change your mind if I tell you that it’s actually a chocolate and beetroot brownie filled with chocolate moose, soil, and mint leaves!
4. Are you a fan of raw mushrooms?
Don’t worry if you’re not a raw vegan, these are actually coconut mushroom sweets. Delicious!
5. Now that’s an offputting dessert if I ever saw one…
Thankfully, it’s just chocolate and beetroot cake complemented by chocolate soil and a chocolate plant pot. Although I’m still not tempted…
6. A truffle pig’s dream come true
It’s also a dessert lover’s and consists of cherry sponge, coconut truffle, lemon meringue mushrooms and rosemary chocolate bark.
7. My mouth is watering just looking at this one
Granny Smith pannacotta, custard, granola, and lemon balm – I’ll have two of these in my belly ASAP!
8. Someone pass the sick bucket
I don’t imagine this dessert will ever catch on, even if it is vanilla pannacotta, smokey lapsang gel, meringue powder, and chocolate.
9. This isn’t great, but it’s an improvement on an ashtray
This one sounds delicious, despite its icky appearance. I wouldn’t mind nomming on orange parfait and Bubblegum meringue powder!
10. A gardener’s dream dessert
Now that carrot looks a lot tastier than the carrots my mom had to dupe me into eating as a kid! This creation consists of mirror glazed carrot cake, edible stones, poached mint, and a chocolate plant pot. Maybe parents could give their kids this as a reward for eating carrots!
11. If you didn’t know better, you’d think this was a real lemon
But it’s sweet, not bitter and is actually lemon pannacotta filled with a lemon sherbet iced gel and a green tea and jasmine custard.
12. Who doesn’t love an egg and soldiers?
Ben has turned classic breakfast into coconut pannacotta, mango gel, and grilled lemon sponge. Talk about finger-lickin’ good!
13. “Let it now, let it snow, let it snow!”
You won’t be getting brain freeze from this dessert though. It’s just beautifully presented Christmas carrot cake.
14. This dessert is straight out of a woodland fairytale
Chocolate ganache, thyme, merengue, and chocolate soil AKA a fairy’s dream habitat!
15. Is that a…? Surely not?!
It’s not a tiny animal’s heart, it’s a ganache-filled cookie, charred strawberries, burnt rose gel and coconut. Phew.
16. Now that’s one way to lose a tooth!
I don’t think I could bring myself to bite down on those screws – even if they’re a part of a chocolate and banana dessert.
17. Could you stomach this much cheese?
Don’t worry if the answer is no. It’s baked vanilla cheesecake with mint veins. Sorry hardcore stilton lovers!
18. Only true crazies can eat whole chilis
But if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you can opt for a chocolate and chili cake instead.
Have you been inspired by Ben’s designs? Maybe you’re hosting a dinner party in the not-too-distant future and want to blow your guests away with a clever culinary trick (or disgust them, depending on what you chose). If so, you’re in luck, because the talented chef has released a book of recipes, detailing just how simple it is to create mind-boggling food illusions at home and it’s available for purchase on Amazon.