SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS
Winning the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie or otherwise known as the ‘Pastry World Cup’ is like earning an Oscar in pastry making. This competition is believed to be the ultimate dream for all pastry chefs.
On January 28, Malaysia’s National Pastry team took home the crown, beating Japan and Italy in the finale round held in Lyon, France.
In the competition competitors viewed us as the underdogs because we came from a small country.
“Competitors viewed us as the underdogs because we came from a small country," says team captain Patrick Siau.
“It’s a huge accomplishment. It seemed impossible to win because we were competing with major countries like Italy, Belgium and the US.”
“Even during the trial runs of the competition, our competitors underestimated us when we presented our cakes.”
Siau, who has been teaching culinary arts for over 20 years, led the Malaysian contingent comprising of Tan Wei Loon, Otto Tay and Loi Ming Ai. Siau is also the Head Chef for School of Hospitality at Sunway University.
“I believe (we won) because of the great teamwork amongst the four of us.”
“It’s not a one-person decision. We discuss everything together to get the majority agreement.”
“One person likes this flavour, but what about the rest of the team? Although, I’m the team president, I don’t have the final say at the end of the day,” says Siau with a wide smile.
At Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, teams competing had ten hours to create desserts based on this year’s theme, ‘Nature, Flora and Fauna’, using exotic ingredients such as ravifruit,
For the first time in the history of the event, the dessert requires the use of specific products highlighting the vegan trend.
Preparing for the competition has not been without challenges. The road to Lyon required substantial financial resources that didn’t come easy as he’d hope, says Siau.
“We needed about RM100,000."
“We did a lot of fundraising through Sunway University. Thankfully, they provided us with the facilities.”
Thanks to logistics firm DHL - one of their biggest sponsors - the team successfully transported 700kg of baking equipment and ingredients such as lychee, coconut and pomelo to France.
“I really that we’ve proven ourselves and we hope it’ll be easier for us to get funding for the team in future,” adds Siau.
Siau and his team are no strangers to the heat of competition. The four of them would train up to ten hours a day in the kitchen to come up with a selection of innovative and stunning sweet delicacies.
Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie brings together the very best young pastry talents in the world. After a selection process involving more than fifty national rounds and four continental selection events in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, 21 teams have qualified for the final this year.
Team Malaysia won the Asian qualifying round in Singapore last year to win their ticket to the finale.
“The pressure doesn’t come from those around you but from yourself."
“This is the time for us to prove to people what we’ve been training for and show the world who we are. At the end of the day we wanted to prove that Malaysia can win this and prove to the younger generation that if you have a dream, work for it and your dreams will come true.”
The 44-year-old Sabahan is not planning to rest on his laurels. He will continue teaching and hopes to motivate future chefs to achieve their culinary dreams.