Knut Harald Sørdal, from IDUN Industri in Norway, has won the gold, best in class medal at this year's Association of Pastry Chefs' Dessert of the Year (DOTY) 2015 contest.
In its 21st year, the competition took place on Wednesday at the Hospitality Show in Birmingham's NEC, and saw eight contestants battle it out over 1 hour 45 minutes to create two plates of a fine-dining-style dessert. Sørdal was the only contestant in this year's competition to have taken part in last year's event.
Sørdal's entry described his dish as whipped milk chocolate and vanilla ganache, with softened raspberries and blueberries, and a Callebaut Satango chocolate bottom.
The contest was sponsored by chocolate producers Callebaut and CCS, and each contestant had to use a Callebaut product (not necessarily chocolate), and a plate from CCS.
Other dishes created included a chocolate and goat's curd mousse with caramelised pears and chocolate and pear sorbet (from chef de partie at the Grove at Chandler's Cross, Ben Crocker); a plate named Sweet Pea, with strawberry, white chocolate, and pea puree (from Marte Krystad, Engø Gard hotel and restaurant in Norway); and a coconut and yuzu dome on a flourless sponge base with coconut and yuzu espuma, caramelised pecans and tempered dark chocolate decorations (from Phil Taylor, pastry chef at the Greenhouse restaurant, London).
Judges included Simon Woods, development chef at Betty's and Taylor's of Harrogate, and DOTY winner 2010; Tim Fisher, chocolatier and DOTY winner 2004; Cherish Finden, executive pastry chef at the Langham hotel and DOTY winner 2001; Alan Whatley, APC chairman; Michael Nadell, patissier, owner of Michael Nadell Patisserie, and winner of the Chef Catey award in 1994.
Andrea Ruff, hospitality lecturer and course manager at Bedford College, and UK vice chair of the APC, was also in attendance.
Speaking to The Caterer, Ruff explained: "The competition does attract people who are trying to make a name for themselves. It's a good way of judging which pastry chefs are really up and coming. It's all about presentation, finesse and techniques, but above all taste, and textures on the plate. If the flavour matches the look, [a plate] will do well."
Last year's winner, with a gold medal and the best in class, was Benoit Jabouille, from Pennyhill Park hotel and spa.
Other winners included:
Silver medal - Ben Crocker, chef de partie at the Grove at Chandler's Cross, Hertfordshire
Silver medal - Olivier Briault, pastry chef at Opus restaurant, Birmingham
Silver medal - Phil Taylor, pastry chef at the Greenhouse restaurant, London
Certificate of merit - Nektarios Socratous, assistant pastry chef at the Coral Beach Hotel, Cyprus