Chocolate Industry

Italy wins World Pastry Cup but British chef feels stuck in politics

Italy is the new pastry world champion after beating a solid field in the 2021 edition of the Pastry World Cup (Pastry World Cup). In second place were Japan and in third place were the hosts, France.

The Chile team received a special prize for team spirit, while the sustainability award for zero waste went to Switzerland – and fans could not have offered more cowbell !

After 50 national selections and 4 continental selections, 11 countries spent a specially allocated time creating their masterpiece desserts, culminating in the grand final on Saturday evening. The tension rises crescendo in the corridors of Sirha Lyon as the results.

The other finalists, the United Kingdom, Egypt, South Korea, Russia, Algeria and Mexico, had braved the obstacles of the final in Lyon to try to triumph in the biggest event of their profession. The winning team took home 21,000 euros, the second team 12,000 euros and the third 6,000 euros.

After watching the teams at work during the competition, there is obviously tremendous pressure and the need for extraordinary focus. You are not only working with ingredients that have flavors, sizes, viscosity, depth, etc. very different, but also against the clock and with a mission defined by someone else’s rules.

“You get into your own brain because you’re focused on what you’re doing, and what other people are doing doesn’t really matter because it doesn’t ultimately affect you,” says Chris Seddon, a nervous and lucid man. pastry chef of the British team, which did not participate in the championships. He is not happy.

“It’s probably worse than Eurovision”

“It’s a business competition, and I think some countries may not be fully aware of the rules and regulations, as there seem to be things that are directly against the rules,” Seddon told Euronews after the announcement of results. . He’s been here before, is no stranger to the pastry competition and visibly furious.

“It’s a bit of a slap because it was a similar position last time (against Italy) when they got bronze in front of us and I know for a fact that they didn’t put gelatin in their cake and everyone thought ‘ah, that’s a liquid insert’ but they actually screwed up the recipe. But because the Italians did – oooh, that’s innovation . “

When asked if he thinks there might be a Brexit bias, Seddon admits “there might be a bit of it.” Since France is also on their territory of origin, they have a lot of sponsors behind them. If they hadn’t been on the podium, they might have lost all of their sponsorship. “

But Seddon’s fundamental complaint comes down to accusations of breaking the rules. “This year you couldn’t use any freezing method, and Italy was using liquid nitrogen, so I don’t really understand how they weren’t marked for that.”

“It should have been fixed on the spot,” said Seddon. “They make a lot of rules and don’t seem to stick to them.”

So, were they or were they not worthy winners?

Dominique Crenn is one of the judges for this year’s championship. French chef and owner of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, she is currently the only female chef in the United States to receive three Michelin stars.

“When I saw the Italian dessert, it spoke to me,” she told Euronews. “I did something very similar in 2013, and it was storytelling. It was about connecting human to nature, and nature communicating back. It’s a very important story, c ‘is a story about the ecosystem. You watch it, everyone connects to it. It’s easy to be a great technician but if there isn’t a story behind it, who are you ? “

New York pastry sensation Eunji Lee was also on hand to share the judges’ perspective with Euronews.

“I love the Italian dessert because it was amazing in terms of technique and detail. The taste was refreshing and they also had very lively service. Many countries did not take advantage of this part of the experience.” , explains Lee. “We expected animation and connection with the client.”

Lee admits, however, that the British team has been successful in this area. So what do they say about accusations of judges failing to apply the rules?

“Everyone has the right to their own thoughts,” crenn rings. “You can say that I am French and that I live in the United States but I come here and I leave my country of birth aside. It’s all a question of experience.”

The tests:

Each team had to undertake two artistic tests: 1 piece of art in sugar + 1 piece in artistic chocolate

And three tasting tests: 4 desserts to share, 4 frozen desserts, 10 restaurant desserts

Changes for 2021

The latest incarnation of the competition has evolved to align with eco-responsibility, so product sourcing and natural tastes are now the order of the day. Additives are prohibited, which means dyes, glitter powders (E172) and titanium dioxide are out of the question.

Partnerships and eco-consciousness

Valrhona and CapFruit are the partners of the competition.

Juliana Lepan, marketing director of Valrhona, told Euronews that their appearance at the World Cup was not just for visibility. “We have been with the competition since its inception and we play a supporting role for chefs who come to show the world their innovation.”

Despite being an avowed small player in the global chocolate industry, the brand has worthy ambitions, which reflect the changes in this year’s competition. “More and more customers are committing to a sustainable vision,” says Lepan. “Even the end customer will ask for these standards, but this vision is global. The actions are powerful and my dream would be to attract the attention of all actors in the sector so that they focus on the eradication of food waste and the encouragement of fair trade.

Roland Casella from CapFruit is also there for visibility. But he is, like Valrhona, committed to sustainability.

“We show the guys who are in competition, who have worked for many years to reach this level, that we are there to support them, to exchange information with them on the quality of the ingredients that we can supply.”

CapFruit may have been in the business of sourcing quality products long before the competition imposed this facet, but Casella is thrilled that they are finally on the same page.

“It’s not new to us,” he says.