World Pastry Cup: UK team targets top seven finish in January final

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Le cordon bleu, Chef, Uk

The team of pastry chefs representing the UK at the World Pastry Cup, or Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, in Lyon later this month are targeting a top seven finish in the final
The team of pastry chefs representing the UK at the World Pastry Cup, or Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, in Lyon later this month are targeting a top seven finish in the final
The UK team of pastry chefs set to compete in the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie in Lyon at the end of the month have exclusively revealed to BigHospitality that they believe they can produce a top seven finish in the final.

Led by UK president Martin Chiffers, former executive pastry chef at The Savoy, the team of three chefs are in final preparations and fly out to take part in the gruelling nine-hour contest on 28 January.

The trio will be looking to improve on the ninth place they were awarded last time out in 2011.

After beating Denmark and Portugal to the gold medal at the European Pastry Cup in March - and scooping best sugar and chocolate displays in the process - Chiffers told BigHospitality he was confident the team could be strong contenders in the grand final.

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The UK team will have to create three sculptures in nine hours - made of sugar, chocolate and ice

"It is a very challenging competition; we don't know what the other people are doing so we will do our best.

"We would like to finish in the top seven. That is our goal," he revealed. "If we get onto the podium that would be an amazing result. I think our team is quite strong and we have put a lot of hard work into it."

'Lost Worlds'

The renowned pastry chef was speaking to BigHospitality in the St. Honoré kitchen at the London HQ of the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, which is home each weekend to the UK team as they hone their entries for the competition.

As well as taste and presentation, judges from each of the competing nations will mark the team on a number of measures including hygiene and timing. 

To be in with a chance of upsetting the favourites - France, Belgium, Japan and the USA - the team must produce three chocolate desserts, three ice cream cakes, 12 identical plated desserts representing the UK and three artistic sculptures - out of sugar, chocolate and ice.

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Nicolas Bouhelier will be making the chocolate sculpture at the final of the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie

While anyone stepping foot inside the Bloomsbury Square kitchen (where everything from time to temperature and humidity is monitored), is sworn to secrecy, Javier Mercado, the UK team captain and a lecturer at Le Cordon Bleu, revealed the theme of 'Lost Worlds' had driven the design of the sculptures.

The theme was first used by the UK at the European final in March and is also present in their poster which members of the public can vote for ahead of the final.

Months of preparation 

"It takes months (to design the pieces) and it is still on-going. In five or six months we discuss, we change, we discuss, we change, we do it and if it doesn't work we might change it again," he explained.

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Nicolas Belorgey and Javier Mercado practice part of the sugar sculpture for the UK entry to the Pastry World Cup

While Mercado delicately balanced his time between numerous hot plates and bowls of molten sugar of all different colours, he told BigHospitality they were still amending their entries and would be making changes up until the last minute.

"We are competing on the second day so that means on the first day we will see the teams making their pieces. Like any good player for any football team, we need to see the playback and see how we can make it better or make improvements."

Mercado will be aided in Lyon by fellow Le Cordon Bleu lecturer Nicolas Belorgey and Nicolas Bouhelier, pastry sous chef at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons. 

Bouhelier's boss at Le Manoir, legendary pastry chef Benoit Blin, helped create the UK Pastry Club Coupe du Monde which is designed to aid the UK in the competition.

Last year, Bouhelier told BigHospitality he hoped the club and the contest would also help give UK pastry chefs more recognition and encourage employment in the industry.

BigHospitality will exclusively be reporting live from the final of the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie in Lyon - providing all the results and reaction, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the competition and investigating how more UK chefs can be encouraged to choose a career in pastry.

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1 comment

'British pastry chefs team' lol

Posted by Ann,

Consist of 2 French chefs and a chef who has previously competed for Mexico make up the British team?, oh and a French team president as well.
Well, good luck guys.

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