MONDAY 28 JANUARY 2013 ______SUMMITS & COMPETITIONS IN LYON
Summits & Competitions in Lyon
I am sending you this blog from Lyon where I am among 170,000 people who are attending two huge events in the city - the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie, and the Bocuse d'Or taking place at Eurexpo, and the World Cuisine Summit, taking place at the Lyon Convention Centre. Typically, I need to be at both events and they are on opposite sides of the city!
This is the second time that the British team are competing in this World Cup - slightly different from football! The Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie is taking place today, and the British Team (You can follow them on Twitter at @PastryTeamUK) is hoping for great things. I am extremely proud that one of our young patissiers from Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons - Nicolas Bouhellier - is a member of the team of three. He has worked at Le Manoir, under our great Chef Patissier Benoit Blin, for seven years now and is a superb craftsman.
The winning team at the European semi-final of the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie in Paris, March 2012
Last year the British team won the best sugar and the best chocolate piece prizes as well as the overall prize, at the European semi-final of the Coupe du Monde held in March 2012. It is magnificent to see this young chef setting new standards in patisserie - perhaps under-appreciated in the UK - and passing his knowledge and expertise on to young British patissiers who are learning their craft.
The UK Team is made up of Nicolas Bouhellier, plus Nicolas Belorgey from Yauatcha, and the team is captained by Javier Mercado, who is lecturer in pastry at Westminster Kingsway College. This is not a challenge for the faint-hearted: the competition takes place over ten solid hours: ten hours of cooking and creating the most complex and fantastic pieces of art, truly!
You might ask me how I feel about my allegiances: I can tell you that I feel very confused! If we were to win, or place in this World Cup - I would have to sing God Save the Queen - so I should hurry and learn the words to this wonderful anthem! Having said that, I actually sang a short version to my Maman this Christmas as I brought her a Christmas Pudding, flambéed in cognac, at 7 o'clock on Christmas Evening.
The Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie takes place every two years since its launch by one of the great patissiers of the world, Gabriel PAILLASSON. Last time it was held, in 2011 (the first time the British had entered since 2003) we came in 9th place. This is in itself an outstanding achievement: patisserie is not as revered and appreciated in the UK as it is in countries such as France, Italy or even Japan and the USA. This year, we are hoping for a place in the top 7. Should we expect to win? No, that would be unreasonable, but to finish even in the top 10 would be an achievement to celebrate. Will we win? Of course not! But this competition is an exceptional platform for our patissiers to present themselves, to show their incredible talent, and to learn. Bravo - whatever the result may be.
A marvellous benefit of being here is that I have met up with many of the patissiers who have trained and worked at Le Manoir. Ten of them have now gone on to bring their crafts to patisseries in villages, towns and cities and enriched them by doing so. That is truly magnificent - that is what it is all about!
PS Please tell me what you think of my blogs and my website: I want to hear from you!
DVD of Raymond Blanc's hugely successful five part series - The Very
Hungry Frenchman - broadcast on BBC2 earlier this year, is now on sale.
To purchase your copy from Amazon, please click on the link below:
If you would like a signed copy of the DVD, this can be ordered via Le Manoir's website. Please click on the link below and request a signed copy in the 'special instructions' box at checkout:
Follow Raymond Blanc on Twitter
Contact Raymond via the Contact page of the website