It's not everyday you're able to participate in a world-class event like the Savour Patissier of the Year competition. In May 2018, I was lucky enough to go head-to-head with some of Australia's best pastry chefs. Individuals with a vast amount of talent and knowledge in so many areas of patisserie who were ready to bring their A-game on every single category of the 3-day event. Judged by high calibre Pastry Chefs I admire and respect like Melissa Coppel, Frank Haasnoot, Paul Kennedy and Jerome Landrieu.
The experience, which took place in Sydney's Convention and Exhibition Centre is a new concept in patisserie competitions that attracts the world's best up and coming patissiers, coming from all around the world.
On the day, we would bring our product pre-assembled and put on the finishing touches and garnishes in the competition arena. From there, we would present each judge with our creation and the judges would taste and judge each product (Sign me up for that job :) eating desserts all day hehe. But actually, believe or not it could get pretty exhausting and annoying eating 120 desserts in total).
After having a food coma... Oops sorry, after tasting every single product, the judges had to select a winner in each category. The competitor with the highest combined score would win the title and prize of Savour Patissier of the Year.
In order to have a chance at winning this competition I had to think of bringing innovative desserts that could also be really fresh and not extremely sweet or overpowering as the last thing you want as a jury is to only taste rich, overpowering sugary components.
That's where I nailed it with my plated dessert. I believe the years I spent working at restaurants gave me the ability of balancing fresh flavours with a different approach as to how most of the other competitors created their plated desserts.
After 3 long and hard days at the event I was incredibly proud to win best plated dessert with my Feijo-autumn, a fresh and really intricate product using feijoas in 6 different applications within the dessert.
Even though I didn't win the competition, I came 6th overall. I also won a selection of molds and a Robot Coupe food processor which is like the Ferrari of food processors, that really made my day! I make all of my nut pralines and pastes in that machine and I don't let anybody touch it haha.
I'm looking forward to coming back to the next Savour Patissier of the Year and documenting my process of testing and developing of my ideas with you all.
Now, without further ado these are my desserts for the Savour Patissier of the Year competition of 2018.
Category: Plated Desserts (Winner of its category in SPOTY 2018)
It’s in my philosophy to use local and seasonal ingredients. Therefore, I have chosen feijoas. Originating from South America, feijoas are magical fruits related to guavas. In Colombia, they grow all year round but here in Australia, their season is brief but very special.
Feijo-autumn means waiting four seasons until the start of May to buy as many as I can and use them in every possible way. 6 ways for feijoas to be present on the plate plus a refreshing sorbet.
Fun Fact: The 'quarter' of the plate that's dusted with feijoa powder means 1 of the 4 seasons which is autum when feijoas are available in Australia :)
Inspired by traditional wooden barrels where wine and rum are aged, I wanted take you on a delightful journey full of Spanish and Caribbean flavour. I have taken Rum and Raisins, my favourite ice-cream flavour as a kid and turned it into a creamy flan with a Pedro Ximenez and sherry vinegar gastrique and pear and vanilla for a smooth finish.
Fun fact: Those are real gold leaves, I ended up putting in the 16 tarts I had to plate totally costing more than $100 so each tart would be worth at least $35 at a pastry shop omg!
Using a very unique technique I love to use, this éclair represents the stages of burning charcoal. From charcoal custard, chocolate ash, coconut dulce de leche and activated charcoal made from coconuts.
The charcoal custard made caramelising sugar with red hot coals actually together and milk at the end. The result is a more of an elegant bitterness and smokiness. A rare coconut and caramel combination with salty notes.
Fun Fact: I developed the coconut dulce de leche for this recipe and then liked it so much that I started selling it in jars! ...so thank my eclair if you have one jar at home right now :) You can shop my coconut dulce de leche here.
TRES LECHES DE LULO
If there is one fruit that could almost be called uniquely Colombian is Lulo: Citrusy and tangy.
Tres leches (Translates to three-milks) is a staple cake from Latin America. A light sponge soaked in milk, cream and condensed milk. Moist and light, it is an unbeatable classic.
I like an entremet that can be moist, textural and not overly sweet; avoiding at all costs the excessive use of mousse or gelatine.
Tropical fruits and childhood memories have been powerful tools of inspiration for this entremet.
Fun fact: After having spent so many hours building this cake I realised I had left my super sharp japanese knife at home to cut it perfectly clean (nooo!) so I had to borrow another competitor's knife which was so blunt :( and the cake didn't look so good...oh well.