Since 1989, the biennial World Pastry Cup - spurred on by Gabriel Paillasson together with Valrhona, the event's Official Founding Partner - honours the World greatest pastry chefs. The teams consist of three chefs - an ice specialist, a sugar expert and a chocolate maker - who join forces to take on the challenges in their respective fields. An enthusiastic audience of supporters is always present as a reminder of the high stakes of this unique contest. The chef's performanceends with a parade of sweet chef-d'oeuvres.
Blending sugar, ice, chocolate, and fruit, the World Pastry Cup is the most spectacular contest in its category. This international event brings together 20 teams of pastry chefs from all over the world. These sugar, ice and chocolate specialists are first selected in their country, often after several rounds of competition. When their turn comes, the candidates perform side by side, each focusing on his or her own speciality, in order to prepare a buffet of desserts representative of their country. The resulting creations are then presented on three showpieces made of sculpted hydric ice, chocolate and sugar, which serve to display a frozen dessert, a chocolate dessert, and a plate of desserts typical of the country represented.
While the competitors endeavour to excel in the kitchens, supporters gather in the stands to cheer on their favorite team. In 2005, 300 Japanese, 200 Lebanese, 200 Canadians and 80 Americans made the trip to Lyon, so as to encourage their respective teams. And yet, all the cheering, the hurrahs and hubbub, do not seem to disturb the pastry experts in their work. Thanks to a giant screen placed above the competition arena, one can observe, first hand, the concentration required for blowing sugar, carving ice, or moulding chocolate. It is sinply impossible to remain unmoved: the five senses are called upon - the smell of chocolate, the sound of ice sculpting, the sight of the buffet, the texture of ice, and the taste of the desserts.
The pastry world's biggest names are present
When the different dessert are finally ready, the time comes for the tasting assessment and marking. This is performed by a jury which consists of the very best pastry cooks in the world. The jury members first review the desserts compositions with a critical eye, before setting their taste buds to work in order to decide between the teams. This parade of maestros is quite impressive, and the supporters continue to cheer on from the stands. After two days, the final decisions are made. Although presentation is an important criterion, taste is the key factor in the judging process.
A larger selection of competitors
The selection event for the World Pastry Cup are currently being held throughout the world in order to determine the teamsand countrie sthat will earn the honour of competing in Lyon. The final event will take place on January 2011 during the SIRHA trade exhibition in Lyon.