The winners of the semi-final of the 2020 Young Pastry Chef competition, which took place on 3 March across three locations in Glasgow, Sheffield and Slough, have been announced.
Of the 12 semi-finalists competing on the day, those who wowed judges with their baking skills and were chosen to go through to the finals on 7 April are: Victoria Hollingsworth, Ruth Dowie, Chloe Hammond, Lourdes Callum Shaw, Mark Barnes and Caitlin Kemp-Powell.
Judges were full of praise for the chefs' professional attitude and excellent skills in their creation of dessert classic gateau MacMahon, which they had two hours to make, following a set-up time of one and a half hours.
A spokesperson for the competition told The Caterer that all chefs were required to follow the gateau MacMahon recipe in the Professional Patisserie, which was written by judge, Mick Burke. The spokesperson added that the "perfect" gateau MacMahon was down to the successful execution of three simple stages: the base; the bavarois; and the chocolate run-outs. Copies of the book were signed by all judges and given to the winners.
While the semi-finalists were given free reign on their choice of flavouring, the finishing of the gateau "had to be classic but open to their own interpretation as seen in the pictures." Burke said: "It was a pleasure to see all the contestants working professionally, demonstrating excellent skills and putting their own interpretation on a classic dessert gateau MacMahon"
Other judges were equally impressed with the semi-finalists' performances. Lorna McNee, sous chef at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie in Gleneagles and judging at Glasgow College said: "When being asked to judge at the semi-finals of young pastry chef of the year I was honoured to have been asked. It's a real pleasure to be able to be involved in something like this and to see the young future of chefs coming through."
Kayleigh Turner, fellow Glasgow judge and lead pastry chef at Number One at The Balmoral in Edinburgh, added: "Having competed myself I see the importance of competing and dedication it takes to be a part of something like this. I'm looking forward to seeing what the candidates have to offer and to help them move forward into an amazing career."
The Young Pastry Chef competition is open to any pastry chef aged 23 years and under working in a hotel kitchen, a restaurant kitchen, college student or any corporate/event environment. April's final will be held at The Claire Clark Academy in Milton Keynes College and the winner will receive the David Lyell Scholarship which includes a Felchlin training course at the newly-built prestigious Condirama in Switzerland.
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