Aztec mask secures place at world chocolate master...

Aztec mask secures place at world chocolate masters

Seung yun Lee from Savour Chocolate & Patisserie School, Melbourne, was crowned first place at the inaugural World Chocolate Masters Asia Pacific Selection in Taipei in March. Ms Lee, along with second place Chi Hsien Cheng from Taiwan, won a full travel package to compete in the Paris World Finals in October 2011.

The World Chocolate Masters, an initiative by Cacao Barry and Callebaut Chocolate, is the world’s premier culinary competition devoted solely to the art of chocolate. Barry Callebaut Service Asia Pacific organised the competition in two segments: one for Japan and one for the Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) region. Japan World Chocolate Master 2010, Yoshiaki Uezaki will also be one of the three contestants representing Asia Pacific at the World Finals. Ms Lee competed against Taiwan, Singapore, India and China.

The Asia Pacific Selection in Taipei was dedicated to ‘Cocoa, Quetzalcoatl’s Gift’. Competitiors had eight hours to make a chocolate showpiece, entremets, 25 moulded chocolates and 25 hand-dipped chocolates.

“Seung Yun Lee has the best originality among the contestants with well expressed and designed in relation to the theme of this competition,” Jury president and 2009 World Chocolate Master, Shigeo Hirai said.

The jury panel said the showpiece captured the essence of the competition theme and the origin of cocoa through her representation of an Aztec warrior.

“My first expression of Quetzalcoatl and Aztec civilisation was Aztec warrior, Quetzalcoatl who is the Aztec feathered serpent god being represented by snake with feather and is carnivorous. So eventually I created mixture of Aztec warrior and snake with feather, a bit dark atmosphere but beautiful combination of colours in a warrior’s outfit. It was difficult to match in a showpiece so I tried to make as one,” Ms Lee explained to the jury panel.

“And in the middle of the showpiece, I put the cocoa pod as a symbol of Quetzalcoatl’s gift and life. As a base part, I tried to (present) Aztec warriors as carnivores, so I used the white skulls, wooden texture and bark to represent them.”

Savour Chocolate & Patisserie’s Kirsten Tibballs said it was a challenging competition as the standard in Asia was “extremely high”.

“All five competitiors could easily have come first. They are the best pastry chefs in all those countries competing, so they have all have already done a national competition as Seung Yun did to represent their country,” Mrs Tibballs said.

Mrs Tibballs said that Ms Lee has been committed to winning the competition and Savour has supported her to ensure she had the best possible preparation leading up to the competition.

“(She’s) very focused, very passionate and she did a lot of research on the subject.

“She has almost a clinical precision to what she does. Although she’s passionate, when she’s in that mode, she was spotlessly clean, she was organised,” Mrs Tibballs said.

Ms Lee received several awards through Barry Callebaut competitions in Australia prior to the competition, where she was crowned first place for the 2010 Callebaut Easter Egg Challenge and as Australia World Chocolate Master 2010.

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