The UK was joined in the Top 5 by Italy, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. Each of the countries was chosen according to their overall results in the last three Coupes (2013, 2015, and 2017).
The top five will now join 17 other nations to compete at the Grand Finale at the Sirha exhibition in Lyon from 27-28 January, which traditionally hosts the contest two days ahead of the Bocuse d’Or international cooking competition.
Each region will host its own selection round, sending the top three winners from each to the Grand Finale. There will also be five as-yet-unannounced wildcard countries.
Although the country is guaranteed entry, the UK will still be required to hold a national selection process to establish the best individual candidates to take part.
As is customary, the 2019 Pastry Team UK will need to include a chocolate candidate, an ice candidate, and a sugar candidate, as well as a president.
Chairman of the team is Benoit Blin, chef patissier at Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons, and judge on the BBC’s Bake Off: Crème de la Crème professional TV show.
The previous president was chocolatier and pastry chef Martin Chiffers, who presided from 2011 to 2017.
The most recent Pastry Team UK, which came eighth (and won Best Sugar) in 2017, comprised Chiffers, Andrew Blas on ice, and as captain; Florian Poirot on sugar, and Chris Zammit on chocolate.
There were also mentees in each of the disciplines, acting in support roles and apprenticing the key skills (Chris Seddon on ice; Joaquin Prat on chocolate; and Dale DeSimone on sugar).
The highest result ever achieved for Pastry Team UK was sixth place, in 2015, and they have always vowed to aim for a podium place in future years.
France, winner of the 2017 Coupe (with Japan in second and Switzerland in third), was not eligible for the Top 5 selection, as the contest’s most recent winner is automatically barred from participating in the next event.