Following months of training, Chef Instructor Gauthier Denis is ready to take part in his first international competition: the European Boulangerie Cup at the Serbotel exhibition in Nantes on 17 October. He will represent France, alongside boulangerie chefs Fabien Menudier and Fabrice Richard. The compulsory theme is a “Monument in your country” and each team must make an artistic piece, a basket with six types of bread and a platter of six varieties of freshly baked pastries. This competition provides the opportunity to represent the boulangerie profession and reflect a positive image to an entire generation.
Could you tell us about your preparation for the European Boulangerie Cup?
I have been preparing for the European Boulangerie Cup since last April with an intense training programme, both physical and mental. I spent time researching the compulsory theme before moving on to the creative process and daily experimentation, working on different shapes, assembly, and textures. Along with my team, we rubbed shoulders with the carpentry and cabinet-making professions as the materials we employ are similar. Gaining knowledge of other professions opened new horizons and took the creative process to new heights. I also underwent intense physical training by cycling, running, and swimming, to free my mind and to gain the endurance necessary to compete for hours at a time.
Is there anything that worries you about the competition?
The main thing is being in a laboratory with which I am unfamiliar. Working with new equipment and dealing with any problems you may encounter, such as oven temperature, can be unsettling. I really hope that what we send to the judging table reflects what we had envisaged in terms of detail and that we respect the allotted time constraints, so that all our training, work and determination are clear to see on the day of the competition.
What is necessary to be successful in this competition?
You need to be prepared to make sacrifices and work very hard but also be modest, as during the preparation stages you need to question yourself daily. You must be knowledgeable, read widely, and carry out research to completely immerse yourself in the theme and understand what is or isn’t feasible. As a professional, you are looking to excel.
How do you feel with just a few weeks to go before the competition?
The last two weeks of training were very intense, and I now feel relaxed and confident. We worked as a team and this period enabled us to fix certain problems, which was a huge relief. I now feel confident in a job well done and I know that we will be presenting a judging table worthy of this prestigious competition. The team is ready to go head-to-head with the other competitors and is eager to get started. I can’t wait to meet and interact with professionals from all over the world and gain an understanding of how boulangerie is seen in countries around us.
How did Le Cordon Bleu Paris help you to prepare?
Many of the Cuisine Chefs helped me, particularly for the catering challenge. Their refined palates and knowledge of taste combinations helped the team to create sandwiches with balanced and innovative flavours.
What would winning mean to you?
A great deal of satisfaction for all the hard work. I would be very proud of myself, but above all proud of the team for lifting the cup and being rewarded for months of sacrifice, laughter, and tears. It would also be the perfect way of thanking all those who have been there for us, coached us, and given their time freely. Above all, this victory would enable me to go to the World Cup in January at the Europain exhibition in Paris in a serene frame of mind.
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