France has won the 2013 World Pastry Cup, known as La Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, with the UK team placing ninth.
Taking place for the 13th time, the biennial contest took place in Lyon on 27 and 28 January and saw 22 countries from around the world compete for the title, each comprising a pastry chef, a chocolate specialist and an ice cream maker.
As the winner of the gold medal, the French team has won prize money of €21,000, with Japan and Italy picking up the silver and bronze medals, winning €12,000 and €6,000 respectively. Special prizes were also awarded to France for the best buffet, Italy for best sugar sculpture and Japan for best chocolate sculpture.
Each team had 10 hours to prepare and present three chocolate desserts using Valrhona "grand crus", included in an artistic sugar creation; three frozen fruit desserts using Ravifruit products, included in an artistic hydric ice sculpture; and 12 identical desserts served on a plate, included in an artistic chocolate creation.
The UK team comprised Javier Mercado and Nicolas Belorgey, both pâtisserie teaching chefs at Le Cordon Bleu school in London, and Nicholas Bouhelier, pastry sous chef at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons. They were supported by UK president and judge Martin Chiffers, executive pastry chef at the Savoy in London.
After winning the European qualification of the Coupe du Monde, the team were disappointed to finish in ninth place in the world final.
"Not reaching our goal to be in the top 7 was very disappointing, but I am very proud of the what they presented on the day. Gaining 9th place and the prize for best poster in this extremely tough competition is still a great achievement," Chiffers told Caterer and Hotelkeeper.
"The UK team did everything they planned on a limited budget and we can walk away with our heads held high knowing what we did was to a very high standard.
It was great to see a cheering crowd of supporters from the UK and I thank everyone in the industry that has supported the team technically and financially, the mentees have also been a great help to the team and these will grow to be the candidates in years to come.
"Other teams had huge budgets that certainly make a difference in this competition, but without the support of our present sponsors we could not have competed at this level, I hope that the UK Pastry Team and UK Pastry Industry will be more recognised and supported in the future as the UK has some great talents that should be recognised," he added.
The theme for the UK team's sugar and chocolate sculptures was Lost World. The UK team won a special prize for the best poster design.
La Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie was started in 1989 by Gabriel Paillasson, who, inspired by Paul Bocuse creating the Bocuse d'Or, wanted to launch a similar high-profile contest for pâtisserie chefs.
Adam Bennett, head chef at the Michelin-starred Simpsons in Birmingham, is representing the UK at the Bocuse d'Or competition, which starts in Lyon today. Bennett, who is up against 23 chefs from around the world, will be competing on Wednesday, 30 January.
The Caterer and Hotelkeeper Interview - Adam Bennett >>By Kerstin Kuhn
E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs