For the second time in a row, Singapore's national culinary team was named overall champion at the Expogast Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg on Thursday.
It beat 29 other countries, including Norway, Switzerland and Canada, to clinch the prestigious title. Sweden took second place, while the United States came in third.
The international culinary competition and trade show, which is into its 12th instalment, is held once every four years. It began last Saturday and ended on Wednesday.
Team Singapore had previously taken home top honours at the competition in 1998 and 2010. This year, it also took home gold medals in the Hot Cooking and Cold Display categories.
The team comprised six members: Louis Tay, 49, executive chef of The Tanglin Club; Yew Eng Tong, 36, chef de cuisine of Ocean Restaurant by celebrity chef Cat Cora at Resorts World Sentosa; Teo Yeow Siang, 38, executive chef of Lavish Dine catering; Jim Gim, 33, a sous chef at The Club at Marina Bay Sands; Triston Fang, 32, sous chef of Equinox Restaurant at Swissotel The Stamford; and Ivy Wong, 36, pastry chef at Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford; and eight assistants.
Team mentor Randy Chow, 52, former national culinary team participant and current section head at Temasek Polytechnic's School of Applied Science, says: "We are extremely happy as this is our third win at Expogast. Moreover, the competition was much tougher this year.
It was a very close contest between our team and the Swedish team, which was very strong this year."
The Singapore team, chosen by the Singapore Chefs' Association, was formed in early February.
Training for the World Cup began in mid-February, led by team manager chef Tay and team captain chef Yew, who is also Singapore's representative at the upcoming biennial Bocuse d'Or culinary competition in Lyon - the most prized competition for individual chefs, which will be held next year.
Chef Yew says: "We trained 20 hours a week. We trained hard and each week, we worked on the hot cooking component, followed by the cold display. All the effort was worthwhile."
They trained into the wee hours of the morning, often until sunrise the next day.
For the Hot Cooking segment, teams are given five hours to prepare a three-course menu for 120 people from scratch.
Team Singapore's winning menu included an appetiser of warm terrine of white halibut with blue lobster and scallop, lobster fritter, smoked eel tortellini with light crustacean cream of salicorne and caviar, vegetable remoulade; a main course of roast brine-cured pigeon breast with caramelised hazelnut, pigeon liver and duck pate, creamed cabbage with confit legs, dukka spice, pumpkin ginger mousseline and port wine jus; and baked William pear with zesty meringue, fromage blanc yuzu sorbet and almond sable for dessert.
The Cold Display is a food showcase that is displayed on a rectangular table about 3m to 3.5m long.
It includes items such as a seafood platter, a five-course gourmet menu and a dessert showpiece. All food items are prepared hot but displayed cold, glazed with aspic.
Mr Chow says: "Victory is sweeter knowing that we have beaten some of the world's best."
This article was first published on Nov 29, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.