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Pastry chefs compete at world cup

Whisks at the ready, spatulas gleaming, pastry chefs from 20 countries went head-to-head on Monday at the 10th world patisserie cup being held at a food salon in eastern France.

24 Jan 2007

Each three-man team had 10 hours to rustle up a chocolate dessert, a chilled fruit dish, an individual dessert serving and an ice sculpture, with the winner to be announced late Monday.

"There are some superb teams in the race this year," said jury member Christophe Michalak, as the chefs from Japan, South Korea, Norway or Russia, worked at their creations with fierce concentration.

This year's favourites? For Michalak, a former head of the award-winning French patisserie team, a top 10 of today's patisserie world would include Italy, Japan, Belgium, the United States and France.

But France, as current holder of the title, was absent from the contest, "to keep things more open," explained Gabriel Paillasson who founded the event in 1989 on the model of the Bocuse d'Or world cuisine championship.

Michalak warned that the competition could be as much about physical endurance as artistic flair – although "patisserie is first and foremost about the pleasure of taste."

"This competition is a real fight. You have to prepare like a boxer, do your press-ups and sit-ups, for a whole year before."

"To keep your morale high, you have to be in great condition, prepare like a sportsman," agreed Paillasson.

Both the world pastry cup and the Bocuse d'Or, which kicks off in Lyon for two days on Tuesday, are held as part of the International Hotel, Catering and Food Trade Exhibition

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