2007 - The Chocolate Woman - Galileo - PRO7, Germany
German television station PRO7 presented Gerhard with an exciting challenge when they requested that he carve a life-size woman from a massive block of chocolate within 48 hours – in front of rolling cameras. The producers asked – is it doable? Gerhard took the challenge on and got to work …
180 kg (397 lbs.) of couverture
(160 kg. white chocolate, 20 kg. of dark chocolate, all from the craftsman chocolate maker Callebaut)
1.82 m (ca. 6 ft.)
Tamara “Mara” Novak, Miss Austria runner-up and model for the project, came in to the studio to let Gerhard draw plans, in order to get a sense of the proportions required to create the life-size figure.
The second step was building the cardboard form, which had to be as close as possible to the form of the final product in order to save time and reduce the amount of chocolate shavings that would have to be removed later.
The couverture was carefully melted and tempered, then poured into the prepared form. When the chocolate had cooled, the block was placed onto a plexiglass platter and 25 more kilograms (55 lbs.) of chocolate were added by hand to perfect the curves of the form.
After all the preparation, Gerhard was finally able to get a hand on the block and begin carving. The first work period lasted 8 hours without interruption, and the chocolate shavings flew until midnight.
The second day began at 5 a.m. and was a seemingly endless loop of carving, cleaning, wiping, shaving, carving etc. etc. for another 14 grueling hours. Finally the rough form work was done and the last evening hours were spent working on details.
The bikini top and skirt detail were masterfully added by hand in the last few minutes using a pearl chain technique before Mara came to inspect the final product. The time was up and Gerhard had prevailed over yet another challenge – he had created a life-sized solid chocolate woman from a living model in just 22 hours! He was disappointed that he didn’t have enough time to perfect the details the way he would have liked them, but … maybe next time !