Imppacto’s pastry chef, Gabriel Campino, shared his passion for the craft and for Christmas with F Luxury. As he reminisced, he created Christmas sweets using innovative products, resulting in fresh and original flavors. A highly inspirational contemporary approach, tailored to demanding tastes, in this season of family warmth, making the celebration unforgettable.
You started very young and carved your path in the pastry world.
That’s true. I started in pastry at a young age. As a kid, I used to bake cakes for the family; some turned out well, others not so much… Then, I started making puddings and other elaborate desserts, and I realized this would be my path. In 2003, at my mother’s suggestion, I started working in pastry shops owned by a friend, and I haven’t stopped since.
Your professional journey is quite comprehensive as well.
I believe so. After completing the 9th grade, I enrolled in the Escola de Hotelaria de Coimbra. My experience includes working in prestigious hotels in Lisbon and London. Pastry is my life; I owe everything to this incredible profession.
Christmas is a time to let your imagination run wild. What does it represent for you?
It’s an important time for me because I have special memories of family celebrations at my grandparents’ house in Leiria. The mystique of Christmas is unique, as is the magic of family unity, generosity, and love. Gastronomy plays a fundamental role here with its Christmas sweets, which bring back unforgettable memories.
What memories do you have of Christmas sweets?
I have beautiful memories of the sonhos that my grandmother used to make. I believe it’s the most beloved sweet among Portuguese people during this festive season, and interestingly, my grandmother used to make sonhos with potatoes, which were more traditional in my region. It was only when I came to work in Lisbon that I discovered pumpkin sonhos.
What can’t be missing from your dessert table during this season?
There must always be something made with chocolate, whether it’s a cake or a spoon dessert. Chocolate is my favorite ingredient for two reasons: first, it’s incredibly versatile, it can either be the highlight or the solidifier of desserts; moreover, it allows for creating impressive decorative pieces. Additionally, I’m fascinated by the origin and transformation process of cocoa into chocolate. I followed this process and was amazed.
What did you envision for this year’s Christmas?
I think the Christmas colors were an inspiration! We used red and brown, which resulted in layered red velvet cakes, with a white layer in between, resembling snow, and a red berry semifreddo. There’s a tart that ends with mini chocolate brigadeiros and another that is a fun composition with blackberries and strawberries and mini chocolate cakes. We also thought about the children and created something with choux pastry, resembling mushrooms, set on the traditional green of Christmas. Lots of color and lots of chocolate are part of the proposal for this festive season.
You work for a very creative company; does this align with your work?
Yes, Imppacto is completely in line with my work. The catering company is constantly modernizing, and both the head chef and I, both in our 30s, enjoy innovating in cuisine. After having a career in hospitality, I realized that catering companies have more flexibility to reinvent themselves and meet the increasingly high demands of clients with various creative and surprising options.