A World Chocolate Master: Swiss Success
A community of talent in chocolate and patisserie gathered at the Salon du Chocolat Paris last month for the final of the World Chocolate Masters 2018.
Twenty finalists from all over the world, each representing their own country, competed to win the prestigious title, however, Elias Läderach from Switzerland reigned supreme. I assisted with the co-hosting of the live streaming to a global audience, so I was up close and personal to the creative works, and it was certainly a final to remember!
The theme for this year’s competition was ‘Futropolis – a quest for tomorrow’s flavours’ which challenged the finalists to explore the future of chocolate gastronomy. The results were phenomenal, and we were presented with innovative patisserie concepts and a wealth of exciting flavour sensations, reflecting the constantly changing consumer preferences. It was a shift to a more ecological and healthier stance, that we have never seen before.
This year, the board changed things up slightly with the chocolate
showpiece category. Traditionally showpieces are tall and narrow, but this year competitors were provided with a base that was long and narrow as well as a restriction on height. This forced the finalists to deviate from tradition, thinking outside of the box and stepping outside the boundaries of the classic showpiece. The showpieces had to be engineered in a way that defied gravity, showcasing new skills, technique and diversity to fit the theme. There was also a reduction on the amount of points that a showpiece was worth, instead the focus was on the tasting elements of the competition rather than the showpiece.
For a competition that places new talent in the global spotlight, the standard is always high. However, I think this year’s theme really took the standard to a new level. After the first two days, 10 competitors were knocked out, so only the top 10 competed on the final day of the competition. Coming out on top was Elias Läderach, who hails from a family of chocolatiers (the renowned Läderach – Chocolatier Suisse in Switzerland). Elias had a whopping four coaches, including Stéphane Tréand—a globally recognised French pastry chef, who worked on various aspects of the competition. For someone to win the competition, they needed to invest a significant amount of time, and Elias was certainly there, having trained 40-50 hours per week for the competition.
There is no doubt the competition broke free from tradition, with the result of encouraging and unleashing a hub of creativity and innovation. With each day of that competition that passed, it has only made me more excited to see the new generation of creativity in chocolate and patisserie.