With a “steampunk” theme for inspiration, 17 culinary students from Le Cordon Bleu (LCB) Sydney and the Northern Sydney Institute (TAFE) Ryde Campus entered into the 2014 Callebaut Chocolate Showpiece Challenge.
Despite many of the contestants having less than six months experience working with chocolate, and having only four hours to assemble the piece, competition judges acknowledged the overall standard of entries from the students was extremely high.
“They learn so much from this individually and collectively. To see these students develop and commit to a project of this calibre is fantastic. They learn much more than just skills working with chocolate, they learn discipline, determination, dealing with frustration and problem solving, as things break and unexpected issues arise,” competition co-ordinators and LCB chef lecturers Joseph Roche and Karen Wigston stated.
“The competitors literally walk away with a completely new level of appreciation for and commitment to their craft. This competition is a very valuable extension of the students learning experience here at Le Cordon Bleu.”
This year’s winner, LCB patisserie student Yi Ting Gao, presented her steampunk-themed showpiece with a chocolate chain, complete with individually connecting links. It was this attention to detail, clean work and strong presentation of theme that prompted the judging panel – Gary Willis, Pascal Janvier and Adriano Zumbo – to award Yi first place.
“Give a kid a block of chocolate and watch the excitement grow!” LCB head teacher culinary Andre Sandison said.
“With the Hunter Valley Gardens Chocolate Festival only a few months away, we all can see and appreciate more of this fantastic craft on display.”
Callebaut Chocolate and the Chicago Mould School proudly sponsored the event by providing contestants with resources and prizes.