Singapore wins pastry award

The Singapore team comprise (from left) chefs Desmond Lee, Alex Yen and Pang Yun Kian.
The Singapore team comprise (from left) chefs Desmond Lee, Alex Yen and Pang Yun Kian.PHOTO: ASIAN PASTRY CUP

Home-grown chefs clinch the biennial Asian Pastry Cup for the fourth time

Team Singapore have hit the sweet spot again as they beat 10 other countries to clinch the biennial Asian Pastry Cup for the fourth time on Wednesday.

Singapore has the most number of wins in the competition among participating Asian countries. It also won in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

The Asian Pastry Cup, started in 2006, was held here on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was in conjunction with the four-day Food & Hotel Asia 2016 event at the Singapore Expo.

The Singapore team included pastry chef Desmond Lee of Mandarin Oriental Singapore, assisted by chef de partie Pang Yun Kian from The Regent Hotel, Singapore. Their team manager Alex Yen, 51, is executive chef of restaurant chain Bakerzin.

Chef Lee, 28, and chef Pang, 29, edged out the competition with their plated dessert of strawberry compote with lychee granite and vanilla mascarpone cream, with lychee sorbet citrus pain de gens (a rich French sponge cake).

They also presented another 15 plated desserts, a chocolate showpiece, a sugar showpiece and two chocolate cakes - all within eight hours.

They were judged on taste and technical skills by a panel of 11 jury members from each participating nation, as well as famed French pastry chef Pierre Herme and World Pastry Cup founder Gabriel Paillasson.

The team from Malaysia took second place, while India's team came in third. All top three teams have earned a spot in the World Pastry Cup finals next year during food and beverage trade show Sirha 2017 in Lyon, France.

Two other teams - Indonesia and Thailand - will also head to Lyon after obtaining the Lyon Passport, which guarantees them a spot in the finals.

Of the win, chef Lee says: "It feels amazing. It took a lot of hard work as we spent at least eight hours training each day in order to be ready for the competition. It's very important to have stamina when you are on stage for eight hours. I'm really pleased with the result and this makes me want to train even harder."

No stranger to pastry competitions is the team's mentor, Singapore Pastry Alliance president Kenny Kong, 58, who says: "We started training three months ago, which required many hours as we were looking for perfection.

"The challenge for the upcoming World Pastry Cup is that the chefs have to do an ice carving as well, something that they have to learn and requires a lot of training."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore wins pastry award'. Print Edition | Subscribe