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An Interview With... Christian Ørner

Updated: Jun 12, 2019

Yes, that's right! It's that time again! Get your slippers on, get comfy with your favourite drink and enjoy another fascinating interview with one of our past speakers!

Our previous interview featured Zach Jones who spoke at TEDxYouth@BrayfordPool 2017: Creating Our Future. This time we thought we'd showcase one of our speakers from TEDxBrayfordPool 2017: Past. Present. Future, private chef and chocolatier, Christian Ørner.

Before we go too far, don't forget applications for this year's TEDxBrayfordPool conference, FEARLESS, are still open. Visit the TEDxBrayfordPool page to apply.


Ahead of digging in to this sweet interview with Christian, why not take 10 minutes to check out his talk from last year. Could be fun, could make you hungry, who knows!

Christian Ørner: How Chocolate can Change the World

If Christian's interview has left you craving something sweet, no problem, we've got you covered, sink your teeth into this his interview!


George: Do you remember your first experiences with TED talks and TEDx? If so, what and where were they?

Christian: My Dad introduced me to TED many years ago. The first talk I watched with my Dad was Sir Ken Robinson's talk "Do schools kill creativity?" and it blew my mind.

G: What did you take from these experiences?

C: I was fascinated by TED and the quality of the speakers and all the different subjects covered. I remember thinking "One day I will go to a TED conference". I would never have thought I would get the chance to actually do a talk of my own, or even had the slighest inkling of what I would talk about. Whenever I found myself with a spare half an hour or hour I would find myself going to the TED website to watch some talks.

G: What is your favourite TED talks, or, top three?

C: Being a chef and having done my talk on "How chocolate can change the world", my favourite talks always have to be food related. In no particular order;

The above was the one I found when doing my research for my talk which is also great.

I also really like the funny talks and find James Veitch's talks very funny.

G: What made you decide you wanted to become a TEDx speaker?

C: I enjoyed acting and being on stage when I was younger but had gone away from it as I was learning how to cook. My mum used to go to the Lincoln Nerd Nites when they happened and I thought it would be nice to do a talk for her. I did a version of my chocolate talk at a Nerd Nite and I loved it, talking about something I am so passionate about and straight away afterwards I was looking for opportunities to do more public speaking. When I saw an advert for the TEDx BrayfordPool I jumped at the chance and applied straight away!

G: How did you choose your subject/topic?

C: Easy. Who doesn't love chocolate?! As a Chocolatier I could quite happily talk about chocolate for days. The most difficult part was cutting it down to the 10 minute limit I was given.

G: How did you find the process of applying and becoming a speaker?

C: Once I saw that I could apply and become a speaker I knew I would do what was required to become a speaker. I found the application straight forward and easy to get through. I was a little impatient between the closing date for applications and when I actually got the email saying I had been chosen as a speaker, but that was just because I was so eager to find out.

G: What would your advice be for those thinking of applying or already in the process?

C: Be passionate and truly believing in the chosen subject you are talking about are paramount. I have done a couple of talk on things I do not truly believe in and it shows in the delivery and I felt more nervous doing it. And practice, practice, practice! Equally as important, have fun doing it!

G: How did you prepare to deliver your talk?

C: Research to make sure my facts were straight and practice, practice, practice. My wife helped a lot by being my test audience and suggesting ways to improve my talk.

G: What were your concerns and how did you overcome them?

C: Whether my talk was good enough to be a TEDx talk was my main concern. I overcame this by practicing and getting feedback and implementing the suggestions made that I felt were improvements.

G: How did you feel your talk went / how did you feel after?

C: I was nervous at the beginning and I felt that I could have had a stronger start, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed it! After my talk I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulder and I felt really, really happy.

I watched the recording of my talk too and felt I didn't come across as nervous as I thought I did at the start, however I did feel I said "Ladies and Gentlemen" and "So..." a few too many times.

G: What would your top tips be for those speaking?

C: Have fun! Be passionate about your chosen subject. Practice in front of an audience and get feedback from them. Make it yours.

G: If you were ever to speak again, what would your topic possibly be?

C: I would love to do another TEDx (or even TED) talk. I would talk about the actual health benefits of salt and how to use it properly in cooking. There has been such negativity about salt in the press over recent years, but salt is vital for human existence. It balances sugar levels, controls blood pressure and many, many more things. All the negativity in my opinion comes from the amount of salt used in the making of processed foods, but if people were to cook everything fresh then they can start to season food and enjoy it as it should be.

There is also much more to talk about chocolate, for example how the increase in chocolate consumption means that forests have to be chopped down to make way for cocoa trees. And also the child labour side in Africa.

I would love to do anothjer talk at this year's TEDxBrayfordPool but I am not sure how it would fit in to the "Fearless" theme. I have applied to other more local TEDx events happening this year and I am waiting to hear back.

G: Would you do anything differently?

C: If I was to do my talk again, which I hope to do, I would change one of my slides (the one with the chocolate face mask) to one which is clearer that it is me. It was the slide that I thought was going to get the most laughs but it only got a few. The feedback I got on that one was that people could not see it was me so the joke was lost somewhat. Next time...

G: What have you been doing since your last TED talk, what have you achieved?

C: My business, SALT Cø. Private Chef and Chocolatier, is going from strength to strength. I am doing more multi course dinner parties and selling more Chocolates and doing more cookery classes. I am booked in to do several demonstrations throughout the year at different food fesitvals and at TEDx GoodEnoughCollege in April. I have also applied to speak at two other local TEDx events in London and Bath. Last year was great, this year is going to be even better!

G: Any other comments regarding TEDx, speaking or the experience?

C: I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely apply to speak again when there is a theme I can fit into.

Andy and the team at TEDx BrayfordPool did and continue to do an incredibly job and I look forward to working with you more in the future.

And that's it for another interview! I can imagine you have all finished your wine by now and rumaging around the house in hopes that you'll find some chocolate! (I know I am...)

I'm sure everyone reading this wishes Christian all the best with his business, the festivals he has coming up and his involvement with future TEDx events. Best of luck from all of us here at TEDxBrayfordPool, we would most definitely love to have you back at some point!

Remember, be FEARLESS!

Speaker applications close for TEDxBrayfordPool 2018: Fearless on Monday 26th March.


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