The World’s Top Chefs Showcased In Italy – Includi...

The World’s Top Chefs Showcased In Italy – Including Aussie Juniors

The 34th SIGEP – an international exhibition for artisan gelato, confectionary and bakery production – wrapped up in January after attracting more than 144,800 visitors over five days.

The event, which ran with the third A.B.TECH EXPO (International Exhibition of Technologies and Products for Bakery, Pastry and Confectionery) occupied 16 halls, with more than 1000 companies represented.

With an 18 per cent increase in numbers from last January’s event, including a 10 per cent increase in foreign trade visitors, Rimini Fiera chairman Lorenzo Cagnoni declared the expo a success.

“SIGEP closes with an extraordinary growth. Together, the two events showed how fundamental an expo with such a high profile and an international leader in the sector is for companies,” Lorenzo said.

Sigep also hosted the biennial Junior Pastry World Cup; an event that showcased some of the world’s most promising chefs under 23 years old.

Despite a range of unforeseen challenges, the Australian team stood up against stiff competition from nine other countries and submitted standout pieces under the theme ‘circus of the future’.

Team coach Scott Astley said the Australian juniors, who both hail from TAFE New South Wales, performed exceptionally well in a demanding environment.

“Grand Corfield and Angela McCauly trained for the best part of the year to compete and they did not falter under the pressure,” Scott said.

And there certainly was a lot of pressure. The team’s equipment was delayed in Italian customs because of paperwork issues and only arrived half an hour before the competition. To add insult to injury, Grant’s bag was lost for two days in the transfer from Cologinia to Rimini.

“Ironically, Grant’s lost bag contained several pieces of delicate equipment that we had separated in case the other freight went missing!” Scott said.

“So we were all up until about 1.30am the morning of the competition sorting it all out, and the competitors had to be up around 6.30am the same morning to compete. Unfortunately they were behind the eight-ball from the start.”

The delay cost the team precious preparation time, and the chance to test the equipment.

“Unfortunately we missed out on the opportunity to test the blast freezer, which turned out to be super-efficient. As a result we froze the gateaux and one piece of the dessert. They just went too hard, too quickly,” Scott said.

Nonetheless, despite not having a well-organised work station, the team did mange to put together a standout showpiece and received positive feedback on their mini-gelato sticks.

“Our chocolates also tasted really good, and both the Japanese and Taiwanese judges said they were very enjoyable,” Scott said.

“If it did not freeze, our dessert would have received outstanding marks, as it was certainly one of the best there. We had little blown-glass dancing ladies created specifically for the desserts, which were presented in glasses, so it looked like a woman was holding up the creation.”

The competition was judged by a panel of high-profile international chefs, including Paco Torreblanca, Gabriel Paillasson – the founder of The Pastry World Cup – and Stéphane Klein.

While the competition was tough for all teams involved, Scott says the vibe was generally friendly and encouraging.

“All the teams got along and both Grant and Angela came away with new friends. We saw the exceptionally high skill-level present in chefs under 23-years-old, which was inspirational.”

Of the 10 teams competing, Australia placed ninth, with Italy crowned Junior World Cup Pastry champions. Second place went to Japan, and third to Singapore.

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