For the first time in history, the Philippines will be competing in the prestigious World Pastry Cup in January 2015, in Lyon, France. Pastry chefs Rizalino Mañas and Bryan Dimayuga, together with ice and fruit carver Vicente Cahatol, are representing the country in various categories that include creating sugar and chocolate showpieces, chocolate and ice carvings, 22 plated desserts, three whole cakes, and two ice cream cakes –all these in 10 hours and against 21 other competing countries.
Also known as Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, the competition is considered the Olympics of pastry making. Founder Gabriel Paillasson started the biennial worldwide event in 1989, with France as its first ever champion.
According to James Antolin, vice president at the Pastry Alliance of the Philippines (PAP), the Philippines’ entry to the World Pastry Cup was 10 years in the making. It’s been their goal since they started participating in the Food and Hotel Asia’s main event, the Asian Pastry Cup in Singapore.
Mind you, the Philippines did not win in the recent Asian Pastry Cup. Malaysia, Singapore and Australia took home the gold, silver and bronze awards, respectively. Paillasson, in a surprising twist, awarded both Team Philippines and Team China the coveted “Ticket to Lyon,” allowing them to compete in the upcoming World Pastry Cup.
More than winning the top prize, Antolin says, joining the WPC is a way of learning new techniques, ideas, and ingredients that can be introduced to the Philippines and her pastry chefs.
“At the end of the day, it’s what we learned that we can bring back to the Philippines and thus, help elevate our pastry industry to the next level,” says Antolin.
He adds, the WPC motivates young pastry chefs to learn more about their craft, eye bigger challenges.He clarifies that the country’s pastry industry is
booming, evident in the numerous pastry shops that have opened in the last 10 years. The rise of Filipino pastry chefs, most are working abroad, cannot be discounted, as well.
“When you go abroad there are so many [Filipino pastry chefs] but they’re not so recognized. With WPC, we want to show that our pastry chefs are very talented,” says Antolin.
TALENT AND WORK ETHIC MATTER
The PAP chose Mañas, Dimayuga and Cahatol as representatives because of their experience and work ethic. It also helps that all three work for the same hotel, Makati Shangri-la, establishing their good communication, synergy, and relationship.
“We decided to get representatives who know each other [well]. How they work together is important especially during practice and the competition itself,” says Antolin.
Mañas has a degree in hotel, restaurant and institution management from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. He is the specialist for their sugar showpieces.
Dimayuga is a graduate of hotel and restaurant management at the Lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas. He is in-charge of their chocolate
creations. Cahatol used to be a wood carver in Paete, Laguna before becoming a fruit and ice carver in hotels.
“Our biggest challenge is perfecting the taste and look of our showpieces as well as having the right equipment and resources,” says Mañas.
SUPPORT TEAM PHILIPPINES
Antolin says that the journey of the Philippines’ pastry team to Lyon needs a lot of support and funding. PAP is open to sponsorships and any form of assistance that will help them achieve their dream of bringing prestige and honor to the country’s culinary industry.
For inquiries, visit www.pastryallianceofthephilippines.com.