The head pastry chef at the Albert and Michel Roux Jr restaurant at Crossbasket Castle in Glasgow has won the first UK Chocolate Dessert of the Year trophy for his yuzu, wild blueberries and hazelnut mousse.
David Simak was crowned at the Chocolate Show at London's Olympia after a judging process in front of a live crowd, and was praised for his finesse, complementary flavours and creative innovation. The competition aims to highlight the most talented chocolatiers and pastry chefs around the UK. He will receive £500 and an all-expenses trip to chocolate manufacturer Valrhona's factory in France.
Louise Rigden of the Royal Opera House's open chocolate éclair placed second, with the Salt Room's cobnut nutella, waffle ice-cream with coffee and milk coming in third.
Judges included Xanthe Clay, food writer at the Telegraph; Eric Lanlard, master pâtissier; Mark Tilling, whose team won the Great British Bake Off: Crème de la Crème; Cherish Finden, executive pastry chef at the Langham hotel; Paul A Young, chocolatier; Chantal Coady, founder of Rococo Chocolates; Carolyn Hart, food writer; Sara Jayne Stanes, chief executive of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts; Martin Chiffers, president of the UK pastry team; Susan Low, deputy editor of Delicious magazine; and food writer Cat Black.
Scores were based on appearance, presentation, texture, ingredient quality, flavour combinations, and general creativity and technical skill.
Simak said: "I'm extremely honoured to have been crowned the winner of the Chocolate Dessert of the Year competition. I am sincerely grateful for the recognition I have received for my work, especially as I was up against such tough competition."
Latest video from The Caterer