Last week, two new pastry stars were born at the Anchor Food Professionals Pastry Challenge Macau 2017, as Sam Wai Ian and Kuok Chi In used their combined skills and creativity to create their strawberry masterpiece “Feast”.
“We met our pastry teacher in a competition in the beginning and got into the career afterwards,” says Sam Wai Ian, who has been working for Studio City for the past two years.
“I have also worked for Studio City for about two years now,” explains Kuok Chi. “The main task for us is to make desserts and cake decorations for the hotel. The championship this time has been very encouraging.”
“I’m thrilled and excited. I did not think that I would win! Most of the contestants in the room are experienced pastry chefs and all we did was try our best,” adds Sam Wai Ian.
This year, “Strawberry Rhapsody” was the theme of the competition. Nine professional teams were required to complete two entries with a weight of 1 to 1.2kg within three hours. There were five master chefs on the judging panel, as well as a media judge to decide the bronze, silver, gold and Angliss Excellence Award. Macau CLOSER also had the privilege of being one of the judges.
The winning creation, ‘Feast’, looks a bit like a “pink donut”, intended to give people a sense of joy.
“For the conceptualizing process, it was important for us to stick to the original theme focusing on strawberries,” explains Kuok Chi In. “Various ingredients were used to intersperse with the theme and highlight the taste of the strawberries. Eventually “Feast” was born.”
“It is like the strawberry is the main character and it invited all of its best friends -balsamic vinegar, vanilla, white wine, tea and seasonal citrus fruits - to join the party and feast.”
The two winners also appreciated the positive reviews from the judges throughout the competition.
“The judges mentioned that we chose the fresh strawberries for the cake even though this is not a perfect season for strawberries. The strawberries we bought from Japan were a bit sour, so we used caramel to balance it,” says Sam Wai Ian.
“We needed to take the origin, year and quality of the materials into consideration. As a result, we had to order all the materials in the first round of the competition.” explains Kuok Chi In. “We tried at least 10 to 20 times to find the perfect match of the taste. The difficulty is that it is hard to tell the difference in taste when we only changed the ingredients a little, but we did our best.”
Anchor Food Professionals Pastry Challenge is committed in driving professional pastry-making by offering aspiring chefs an arena for skills exchange; and nurture them for the international scene. Established in Hong Kong a decade ago, the competition has awarded devoted pastry talents annually, and has expanded its reach to Macau in 2012. The Pastry Challenge 2017 in Hong Kong will be held on 10th August.