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Competition is everywhere; from trade, to politics, and even in education the drive to prevail is ingrained in our everyday life. We not only need to compete to survive, we often compete for the thrill of success.
World Champions will train for their entire lives to achieve this accomplishment – to call themselves the world’s best. We most often attribute these champions to popular sports however world champions exist in every facet of life, and in the World of Pastry this is no different.
The concept is very simple, to bring together teams of young chefs from across the globe in hopes of finding the most promising talent of their generation, and of course, to win. The end goal: to produce the most unique, tasteful, and artistic sugar, chocolate, and ice pieces you could imagine. The competition often has an underlying theme in which competitors must adhere to, and with this year marking the 30th anniversary of la Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, it's no different.
Nature, Flora, and Fauna. The 30-year anniversary provides ample opportunity to put the notoriety of the World Pastry Cup at the service of a noble environmental cause. Along with the theme chefs will be challenged by creating a 100% vegan dessert (a trend often declined in pastry) as well as creating a chocolate dessert with a biscuit made with honey (to raise awareness of biodiversity through bee work and pollination). Among other novelties candidates will be challenged to create at least one transparent item in blown sugar.
The selection process is a very demanding undertaking involving more than fifty national rounds as well as four continental selection events spanning across Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. As of today, 21 teams have qualified for the upcoming competition with the grand finale being held on January 27th and 28th 2019 in Lyon, France.
The World Cup of Pastry is shaped very specifically in terms of what is expected. Chefs train and compete against others in their nations for a chance to represent their country in the World Cup. Most often, countries choose their three chefs based on their specific skill, often seeking an ice artist, chocolate artist, and sugar artist.
Competitions will also often yield additional challenges, in the 2017 World Cup competitors were tasked with integrating a flower made of sugar into their artistic creation. On the final day of the event France came out on top, taking home the first-place trophy attributed to chefs Leroy Etienne (sugar), Girard Bastien (chocolate), and Schneider Jean-Thomas (ice).
The Continental Pastry Cup is just as it sounds - It takes a sugar and chocolate artist from a country they will represent (within that continent) and pits them against the other countries. The winner is ensured a fast pass to the World Cup of Pastry grand finale. These competitions are located in Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America and the results are incredible. Not only is it a look into the talent we should expect to see during the Pasty World Cup, but a look at how competitors adhere to the continent's theme for the competition.
Competition rules are very similar to that of The World Cup of Pastry in terms of event specifications and preparation. For instance, the European Cup's theme was "Mother Nature". Competitors had to create a chocolate and sugar sculpture as well as a plated dessert and a frozen dessert.
Below is a breakdown of winners from each continent this year.
In addition, out of all 2017 – 2019 competitors there is a TOP 5 based on the results of the last 3 editions of the World Cup of Pastry. This means based on an average ranking, teams were granted automatic access to the grand finale.
These 5 nations are automatically selected for the 2019 grand finale and according to contest rules 2017 winners, France, are not allowed to participate. The rest of the countries who were able to advance had to find success in national rounds.
We were recently invited to an event in Chicago where we were able to meet Team USA representatives and mingle with some of the other great sponsors for the World Cup of Pastry. Team President Gilles Renusson gave an amazing speech introducing each team member highlighting their strengths and hyping everyone up for the upcoming World Cup.
Selecting a team to represent the United States of America was however no walk in the park. Prior to selection an intense two-day trial at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at the Grand Rapids Community College led six talented pastry chefs in a head to head competition.
These tryouts are an incredibly taxing experience which gives each chef two days to complete a chocolate entremet and a sugar or chocolate showpiece capturing the theme of “Time” in an unfamiliar kitchen.
On the evening of the closing day of the trials, the exhausted chefs headed to the Amway Grand Plaze for the award ceremony. With everyone in the room holding their breath, Team USA was announced. Olivier Saintemarie was selected for chocolate, and Nicolas Chevrieux clinched the sugar spot with his piece containing nearly 1000 individual pieces. The two joined their third teammate Victor Dagatan who had already been selected as the ice sculptor for team USA.
Following awards, Team President Gilles Renusson spoke confidently of the 2019 team.
Culinary Artist at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Orlando, FL
Victor Dagatan was the only team member who did not have to compete for his spot for Team USA. Earlier in 2017 Victor participated in an ice sculptor contest in Lyon, France where he took home Best in Competition. Victor Dagatan is currently a culinary artist at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando, Florida where he creates pastries, showpieces, and of course ice sculptures.
Chef Nicolas Chevrieux is the Executive Pastry Chef, Jean-Philippe Patisserie at Aria and The Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Born in Orléans, France, to a family of bakers and pastry chefs, Chevrieux started to help his father at the shop at the early age of 10. He quickly caught the pastry making bug and was passed on his father’s knowledge, love, and respect for the art of pastry baking. By age 14 Chevrieux was training at the French School of Culinary Arts, FERRANDI. After touring France to perfect his art and teach Chevrieux returned home and took over his father’s pastry shop. In 2012 he decided to travel again, this time overseas, where he found himself in New York as an Executive Pastry Chef for the Ginza Project. Today, Chevrieux is the Executive Pastry Chef at Jean Phillippe Patisserie at Aria and The Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Executive Pastry Chef, Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego, CA
Chef Jordan Snider began his career in pastry in 2001. He has worked for various restaurants and cafes and was the banquet pastry chef at the Carolina Yacht Club underneath Executive Chef Zak Haylash. In 2010, Snider relocated to Las Vegas, NV where he worked underneath numerous professionals; most notably Chef Gianni Santin, Chef Jim McNamara, and Chef Christophe Feyt. In 2014 he moved to San Diego to become Executive Pastry Chef of the Fairmont Grand Del Mar. In 2017 Snider competed in the US Pastry Competition earning Honorable Mention. Snider will be attending the World Cup of Pastry as an alternate Chef in case any other team member is unable to perform when the time comes.
Chef Olivier Saintemarie is the Executive Pastry Chef at J.B.I. Inc., Les Chefs de France in Lake Buena Vista, FL.
Olivier has had an immense passion for baking at the early age of 11 while spending time at his uncle’s bakeries in Paris during the holidays. He abandoned a conventional path of graduating high school at age 15 to pursue his dream of baking. During his apprenticeship at the Pavillion Dauphine in Paris, Saintemarie discovered the world of petit fours, plated desserts, chocolate, and sugar work. Olivier worked in Paris, France and eventually relocated to London as the head Pastry Chef and production lead for Rensow. Always seeking advancement Saintemarie sought out a Cambridge certificate in advanced English and soon after joined the Disney Cruise lines in Venice. In 2003 Saintemarie followed an opportunity to work in Orlando, Florida in a French bakery. In 2011, Saintemarie began to share his industry knowledge as an instructor at Notter School of Pastry Arts. Currently, Saintemarie is the Executive Pastry Chef at the French Pavilion at Epcot. His team of 35 maintains bread and pastries for “Les Halles” Bakery shop, “Les Chefs de France,” Brasserie style restaurant, “Monsieur Paul,” fine dining, and “L’Artisan des Glaces”, an artisan ice cream shop. In 2017 Saintemarie was recognized as “Top 10 Pastry Chef” by Dessert Professional Magazine. Chef Olivier will be representing the USA in the chocolate competition in the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie.
For now, chefs are hard at work, practicing, training, and perfecting their showpieces. Team USA has won only one time in what will be thirty years of la Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, however, everything has fallen into place for successful year. Team USA has the passion, the talent, and the coaching needed to take home first place on the podium.
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