Hinks, owner of Scottish chocolatier and patisserie Cocoa Black and the UK's first female Chocolate Master, found out she'd made the top five at the competition's awards ceremony at the Salon du Chocolat Professionel exhibition at Porte de Versailles in France today (Wednesday) following a three-day final.
Organised by Cacao Barry, Callebaut and Carma, the biennial event was won by Italian Davide Comaschi with second place and third place going to Marike Van Beurden from the Netherlands and Deniz Karaca from Australia respectively.
Under the theme 'Architecture of Taste' each of the 19 finalists had to create a chocolate showpiece, a chocolate layered cake, a gastronomic chocolate dessert, dipped and moulded pralines and a creation of the architect of the world.
The competition was judged by the biggest names in the pastry world including Iginio Massari, Angelo Musa and celebrated US chocolatier Norman Love who judged each finalist's work on presentation, taste and technical skills. Sergio Herman, the chef behind three Michelin star Netherlands restaurant Oud Sluis, was also on the jury.
A place so close to the podium is an extraordinary achievement for Hinks and her support team, which included 2007 and 2009 World Chocolate Masters contestant Mark Tiling, UK Pastry Team president Martin Chiffers and Callebaut technical advisors Julie Sharp and Beverley Duncan.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d place within the top five – the standard has been incredibly high this year,” Hinks told Restaurant at the event.
“I nearly lost it this morning. The pressure gets to you and there are lots of distractions so it’s very easy to make silly mistakes. My timings were also slightly off because I didn’t factor in the time to present some of the elements to the judges, but luckily it all worked out."
Hinks' restaurant dessert elicited particular praise from the judges, an assemblage of 16 different components including a chocolate mousse with raspberry centre set within a molded beehive. Hinks is looking forward to spending more time with her husband and young children but has big plans for her chocolate shop and patisserie Cocoa Black with a chocolate school set to open there next month.
Alistair Birt – the 25-year-old head chocolatier at William Curley’s celebrated eponymous London chocolate shop and patisserie – is already being hotly tipped to represent the UK in the 2015 edition of the competition but will need to qualify in the 2014 UK pre-selections.
Pick up the December issue of Restaurant for a detailed report on the World Chocolate Masters 2013.