Olive oil sponge cake with mint crumb, sweet milk foam, and baked apple puree This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, My Modern Met may earn an affiliate commission. Please read our disclosure for more info.
Things are not what they seem on the plates of chef Ben Churchill. His food art is an ongoing series of optical illusions that conceal delicious desserts under the guise that they’re inanimate objects or completely different dishes. Churchill is a master at forming his pannacotta, sponge cakes, and jellies to mimic the size and shape of what he’s trying to imitate; they look so convincing that you only realize they're sweet treats once you dig in.
Churchill has been a chef for over 10 years, but it’s only been over the last two years that he’s tried making pastries. “I decided to learn the basics,” he explained, “but decided to move into mimetic food, just to see what could be done. This gave me the bug to start teaching myself more and more.” He allows inspiration to come from anywhere, which has resulted in unexpected creations like pannacotta cigarettes in an ashtray and a cleaning sponge complete with “suds” or rather a sweet milk foam.
Churchill keeps busy as a chef and now a published author; his first book, Food Illusions vol. 1 was published in late 2017. It’s now available on Amazon.
Chef Ben Churchill creates mind-bending food illusions where nothing on the plate is what it seems.
Vanilla Pannacotta, smokey lapsang gel, meringue powder, and chocolate
Chocolate sponge coated in silver chocolate and filled with strawberry coulis that bleeds when cut
He most often recreates food—including “rotten” fruit.
Orange parfait, bubblegum, and meringue powder
Chocolate and beetroot cake, chocolate soil, and chocolate plant pot
Chocolate and beetroot brownie filled with chocolate mousse, chocolate soil, and mint leaves
Carrot cake moulded into a carrot shape with mirrored glaze. Served with edible rocks, chocolate soil, a chocolate plant pot
Chocolate mousse, freshly squeezed orange juice, and chocolate pot
Pear parfait, charred overnight oats, almonds, and honey
Granny smith pannacotta, custard, granola, and lemon balm
Satsuma segment jelly
Lemon sponge, chantilly, and lemon gel “yolk”
Coconut meringue mushrooms
Churchill breaks his illusions—and shares behind the scenes—in short videos on his Instagram: