Page 42 - Pastry & Baking Magazine

Competitions
40
Pastry & Baking North America
Celebrity chef Johnny Iuzzini of Top Chef Just Desserts
and former executive posts at Daniel and Jean Georges,
said, “You see a broad spectrum of talent and skill. We’ve
tasted a lot of different flavor profiles in the cakes and
some are better than others. But just to come out and
participate at this high level of competition... every chef
deserves tremendous credit.”
Three separate juries are delegated to ensure diverse
palates and perspectives. Five score the showpieces, five taste
the entremets and five evaluate the bonbons. The committee
consists of acclaimed pastry chefs, educators and former
competitors from around the nation. The jury is presided
over by Florian Bellanger, former executive pastry chef of
Fauchon, owner of MadMac in NYC, and judge on Food
Network’s Cupcake Wars. Bellanger expressed that the judges
were very pleased with the competitors’ performance in the
area of taste.
The sharp focus on flavor is the reason for the chocolate
bonbon component. The contestants must incorporate six
handcrafted 1-ounce morsels into their showpieces. They
are judged on visual appeal, shape, form, texture, proper
enrobing techniques and flavor. The bonbons are worth a
mere 20 points and have less impact on a chef ’s possible
150
point score. But as the level of competition continues to
rise, the bonbon can be the difference between placing and
winning.
What does securing the title of Pastry Chef of the Year
mean to these chefs? There’s a monetary prize and industry
recognition. But for most, the personal satisfaction is the
greatest reward. Said previous winner and returning juror,
Nathaniel Reid (Norman Love Confections, Fort Myers, FL),
It’s a challenge to go through the Competition and work
on your technique and skills, and push your limits. I think I
took more away from the experience in terms of growing as
an individual chef than winning a title.”
At 4pm, an enthusiastic crowd gathered for the standing-
room only awards ceremony. Dominique Noel, Vice
President of Paris Gourmet, began by recognizing the
mentors who worked with the competitors to provide
technical and moral support. Their guidance lends a
valuable educational component to the Competition
and further promotes the camaraderie within the pastry
community.
That spirit of giving
back to the industry
was also celebrated
with the presentation
of the 2012 Lifetime
Achievement Award to
Susan Notter. Notter
has been a prominent
chef and educator
in the profession for
nearly three decades.
She served on the
judging committee,
and currently
directs the Pastry
Arts Program at the
Pennsylvannia School
of Culinary Arts.
And then, it was
time to announce
the 2012 winners.
Honorable Mention
was awarded to Artis
Daniel Keadle’s gravity
defying showpiece