THE best Australian pastry chefs are taking on the cream of the crop at the World Pastry Cup today, led by Newcastle pastry chef Dean Gibson.
Gibson is recognised worldwide as a chocolate and pastry aficionado and is named by macaron king Adriano Zumbo as one of his most influential mentors.
He teaches young Hunter Region cooks and chefs at Hamilton TAFE, as well as devoting years to coaching Team Pastry Australia, the first Australian team in six years to travel to France for the prestigious 10-hour competition.
‘‘It is like our Olympics, that’s the best way to explain it. It is so physical, we train as if we were a soccer team. You have to have endurance,’’ Gibson said. ‘‘Normally after the competition you can’t use your hands they are so fatigued. It is stressful and you need to be a competitor.’’
The team – Jian Yao and Justin Yu, of Sydney’s acclaimed Continental Patisserie, Canberra TAFE patisserie teacher and acclaimed pastry chef Dammika Hatharasinghe, sugar competitor Andre Sandison of Le Cordon Bleu, Sydney and Gibson – has trained for more than three years for the World Pastry Cup or Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie.
They’ve chalked up 14-hour days preparing their chocolate and sugar creations and accompanying dishes at least 20 times. For the 10-hour competition they must produce 12 identical plate desserts, three ice-cream cakes, three chocolate cakes and three showpieces, without even a toilet break.
Gibson said the team, who defied the odds to win the Asian Pastry Cup last year, were world cup underdogs.
‘‘We come from the furthest away and we’re competing against countries for which this is serious business. The guys that have won, it’s made their careers.’’