Singapore chefs toiled 10 hours over sweet creations at Pastry World Cup

Singapore chefs toiled 10 hours over sweet creations at Pastry World Cup
Kent Ng of Singapore competes during the Pastries World Cup final as part of the Catering and Food International Show (SIRHA) in Chassieu, outside Lyon.

For Kent Ng, baking is part of his job as a chef.

But over the last weekend, it turned into more of an endurance sport for him and his team as they hunkered down for 10 hours to whip up elaborate desserts for an international pastry competition in Lyon, France.

And none of them took a meal or toilet break during that time.

"We were so focused on getting our sculptures ready that we didn't eat or go to the toilet," he said.

Mr Ng, along with chefs Desmond Lee and Francis Wong, represented Singapore in the finals of the Coupe du Monde de la P√Ętisserie, or Pastry World Cup, on Sunday.

They finished eighth out of the 22 countries in the biennial competition. Italy won the gold medal, while Japan and the US took the silver and bronze respectively.

Chef Ng, 31, assistant pastry chef at Mandarin Oriental Singapore, told The New Paper it was his first time taking part.

His team, which trained for two years, earned a spot in the finals by winning the silver medal in last year's Asian Pastry Cup.

"There was no rest for us for the past two years," he said.

"The three of us are from different hotels and we have our own jobs, so our practice time together was limited." Mr Ng was the sugar artist for the team, in charge of creating the sugar sculpture and three chocolate desserts for the competition.

SUGAR

Chef Ng's creation, made entirely out of sugar, was the character Mario from the popular video game Super Mario.

"I'm a fan of Super Mario, so it felt good to create something based on it," said chef Ng, who added that some chefs had advised the team to change the theme before the finals because "our sculpture didn't look like the actual Super Mario at first".

"That was one of the difficulties that we faced."

But the team stuck to its plan.

The finals were not without its challenges.

Pieces of the Super Mario sculpture fell off and broke into pieces halfway through the competition.

Chef Ng remembered how he had to calm himself down before starting over again.

He said: "Luckily, I was able to create the sculpture faster than I did in Singapore.

"The weather in France is very dry, which is very good for sugar as it won't melt, compared to the humid weather in Singapore.

"Even though our creations were not as perfect as the ones we made during our practice sessions, we managed to present our completed piece just in time."

Despite not winning, Mr Ng said he was not disappointed.

"It was a very good experience to be able to take part in this competition, as we got to compete on an international level," he said.

"We will try to improve our skills and hopefully, we will get to join in another two years' time."


This article was first published on January 29, 2015.
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