UK Pastry Team president Martin Chiffers has called the UK European Championship win a “great result” for the team and the UK pastry industry, but was cautious about the UK’s chances in the world final in Lyon in 2015.
He told Caterer and Hotelkeeper: “We worked very hard over the past few months, and it’s a great result for the UK pastry industry and also the team.”
He called the UK’s plated chocolate desserts, which included raspberry gel, lemon curd balls and rose tuiles, “mind-blowing and stunning-looking”, and said that Claire Heitzler, honorary president and head pastry chef at the two-Michelin-starred Lasserre in Paris, had commented that she “wanted to eat it all”.
Despite the win, however, Chiffers remains realistic about the UK’s chances on the world stage.
“I would like to win, but it’s a very tough competition. At the end of the day it’s all about sponsorship and hard work and training. Other countries have huge sponsorship budgets and without that it’s very hard to train at that level, but we have got some equipment from last year and we have some good sponsors this year, and hopefully we’ll get a better result.
“We will do our best and hope for a great result. My ultimate goal would be to get in the top five,” he added.
Chiffers was positive about the UK’s entries saying that the UK’s chocolate and sugar sculptures were on a par, if not better, than the sculptures that ultimately won the best chocolate (Sweden) and best sugar (Denmark) prizes.
The UK was not eligible for those accolades though as the competition rules reportedly barred the overall winner from them.
The UK Pastry Team won Sunday night’s European Pastry Championship in Geneva with a life-size chocolate sculpture of Lion King: The Musical character Simba, plus a sugar sculpture of stylised cartoon bird character Zazu (which also featured a photograph-like image of the “wise monkey” character, Rafiki). This was the second consecutive European win for the UK team.
Alongside Chiffers, the team also includes Barry Johnson, principal chocolatier for chocolate company Rococo Chocolates; and teaching chef at Le Cordon Bleu, Nicolas Belorgey.
The five-hour test asks two of the team’s chefs to create two fruit desserts, nine identical chocolate desserts representative of their own country, a sugar creation and a chocolate creation. The six-person jury is made up of each of the team’s presidents.
The world final is nine hours long and will demand additional tasks from the teams, including ice-cream making and further sculptures.
Speaking of the European selection process, Heitzler said: “European pastry is buzzing with excitement. The reputation of the European Cup, selection event for the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie is worldwide.”