Startup company Physalis Vegan has launched an online school focusing on the crafting of plant-based pastries and desserts. Belarusian vegan chefs Sabina Hambarava and Alexey Korotkevich run the courses, teaching students from around the globe how to perfect their unique recipes using natural, organic, plant-based ingredients.
The company’s second online course has just begun. It runs for nine weeks with an additional two weeks of support offered, whereby students will have continued access to class content. Capped at 20 people, the “Pastry Evolution” course teaches students about vegan entremets, macarons, and cakes. It is available in both English and Russian.
The idea stemmed from a desire to break stereotypes surrounding vegan food. “We wanted to prove that vegan pastry may be on the world-class level,” Alexey explained in an email to LIVEKINDLY. After looking at cuisines around the world, Alexey and his partner Sabina could not find any vegan pastries that could “change the mind” of meat-eaters or vegetarians. The duo set out to show the world that “it’s possible to enjoy luxury pastry without any animal products or chemical additives.”
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“We spent a lot of time and worked almost 24/7 to develop perfect techniques and recipes of our unique desserts, like entremets with perfect mirror glaze, macarons, chocolate bonbons, and a lot more,” Alexey explained. “We care that our desserts are not only beautiful and tasty, but as healthy as possible.”
The pair, who follow a fruitarian diet, do not use palm oil, refined products, or chemical food colorings in their recipes. Yet their visually stunning creations do not disappoint. Pistachio white chocolate macarons, caramelized bananas, apricot and bergamot macarons, almond sable crunch with caramel yogurt cream, and mango vanilla crémeux are among the recipes they have developed.
The course offers students from around the globe the opportunity to connect with the pastry experts through video and written lessons. The curriculum includes one-on-one virtual time with the instructors and as well as assigned homework.
The business was “built from zero” by Alexey and Sabina. The two mastered everything themselves, from recipe developments to the videos used to promote the course. Even the music included in the videos was created by Alexey, who was previously a music producer. Helpfully, Sabina once worked as a visual designer and stages the photographs of the desserts. “It’s now art for us,” Alexey said.
Prior to embarking on their online education journey, the pair had no experience in pastry courses or cooking schools. “And now we teach people from the whole globe, pro chefs and amateurs,” he said.
According to Alexey, the future of food is plant-based. “Traditional pastry is already exhausted. Even well-known traditional pastry chefs now try to create vegan and gluten-free modern desserts,” he said. “People are starting to care about their health and what they eat, so the next step for high-end pastry was vegan, and we decided to make it.”
The population of stray animals in Belarus was another motivating factor for Alexey and Sabina. The couple donates a majority of their earnings to help homeless animals, and are even working on creating a shelter for stray cats in Belarus. The shelter will employ full-time veterinarians and act as a place where animals can walk freely, they said. They hope the shelter will combat the current system in the country, whereby stray animals are captured and euthanized.
As well as promoting the artistic potential of plant-based foods, the mission of savings animals remains a driving force. Alexey said, “Every time a student signs up, it means we can do more kind things for animals.”
Image Credit: Physalis Vegan