On the 28th January, Australia placed seventh, ahead of previous winners Belgium and Taiwan, at one of cooking’s most respected international competitions - la Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie, or Pastry World Cup, in France.
The top seven position automatically qualifies the Australian team, headed by Le Cordon Bleu Chef André Sandison, for the 2015 competition - an absolutely stellar result, considering the stiff competition they faced from the 21 other countries involved. Widely considered the underdogs, it was also the first time in six years that Australia has competed at this international showcase.
For this reason, the Australian team had been preparing for this event for over two years, training sometimes up to 12-14 hours a day to develop one of a kind, dessert showpieces. In the competition, teams from 22 countries had ten hours to produce a range of desserts, including three frozen desserts, three chocolate desserts, twelve plated desserts representative of your country, as well as three showpiece artistic creations – one made of sugar, one made of chocolate and one sculpted of ice. According to André Sandison:
“We really wanted to showcase what we, as Australian Chefs, are capable of producing. And of course, what better way to do that than model our desserts on the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge? It took so many hours and months of work to perfect each of our showpieces, I was so proud to show an international audience our best work. The fact that we were awarded seventh place is so gratifying, it really makes all that hard work worthwhile.”
The youngest member of the team, Justin Yu, one of André’s past students at Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney, competed in the chocolate section, something he has specialised in even during his studies, winning local competitions against professional chefs. For Justin, the international stage was intimidating, but he was thankful for the experience of the other chefs on the team:
“When there is so much pressure to perform at this level, it can be scary, but having these experienced chefs by my side, training me and giving me confidence in my skills, and technique, made all the difference.”
The Pastry World Cup was hosted in conjunction with SIRHA, France’s largest hospitality industry fair in Lyon, France, an attraction for hotel and restaurant trade worldwide. Since its creation in 1989, the competition has been mostly won by the mainstay classic European countries, such as France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.