Stefan Bruderer was born in sight of the Lindt factory in Switzerland and subsequently carried out a three- year apprenticeship as a confectioner in Zurich before joining the company as a product developer.
What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?
My barbecue tongs are my most used piece of kit when I'm at home. I love barbecuing; I even use my grill in the winter. It has a cover over it so rain or snow, it doesn't matter. My girlfriend thinks I'm crazy. My least used pieces of kit are cook books. I flick through the odd one or two for inspiration, but I like to create my own dishes by combining flavours.
If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?
My mother always put bread, chocolate and fruit in my lunch box at junior high. It is a pretty popular lunch in Switzerland. So I'd have that. The bread would have to be whole grain and the chocolate, milk with whole hazelnuts in it, and I'd follow it with a pomegranate. The sweet chocolate goes really well with the sour pomegranate. I'm trying to develop the two flavours into a new product.
What do you eat for comfort?
It may surprise you, but chocolate is still my comfort food, even though I'm around it all day. Sometimes when I get in from work I have a glass of good red wine and some chocolate. I enjoy that pairing. I don't eat whole bars – I just have a little nibble. It's a great thing to settle down with in the evening every now and then.
If you could eat only bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
I would choose bread, without a doubt. Not least because you can't put chocolate on potatoes. We have twisted wholemeal bread in Switzerland, which we eat a lot at home, and which I wouldn't want to be without. But, you know, I would still miss chips; I eat a surprising amount of junk food.
What's your desert island recipe?
My desert island recipe is my favourite party recipe: chocolate fondue. Slice up some strawberries, bananas and pineapples, then melt some chilli chocolate in a Pyrex bowl over a pan of hot water. Keep it hot and dip the fruit in. It's very nice. Add thick cream to the mix to keep it smooth.
What's your favourite cookbook?
I'd say, Fired Up: No Nonsense Barbecuing by Ross Dobson. It is such a funny book. It takes a wry look at men cooking. It gives advice like: "before you start this, get a beer in your hand." I can't say it is the most instructive book ever, but it is certainly entertaining.
Who taught you to cook?
Certainly not my father – he can't even manage scrambled eggs. But my mother is a different story. I still use the recipes she and my grandmother gave me. I learnt a lot of the basics at my cooking class in school, too – that is when my real love of food came about.
What's your favourite restaurant?
My favourite restaurant is The Cheesecake Factory in Beverly Hills. I was in Los Angeles last September and went for the first time. It had this huge buffet of cheesecakes. I had a tiramisu cheesecake. It was huge and delicious. It's a very fun place, and a bit of a celebrity haunt.