Team USA won best dégustation and second place overall in the World Pastry Team Championships, held during the World Pastry Forum in Las Vegas last month. Team Japan won first place, and Team Netherlands placed third in the competition.
Team USA consisted of team captain, chef Donald Wressell, as well as French Pastry School instructors Scott Green, Joshua Johnson and, alternate, Della Gossett. After two years of preparation, including the qualifying National Pastry Team Championship in 2011, Team USA competed in the final against Japan, the Netherlands, China, Mexico, and South Korea.
The two-day competition took place over 13 total hours. Each team had to produce one chocolate showpiece, one sugar showpiece, 14 identical plated desserts, three identical entremets, three identical entremets glace, three different types of petits gâteaux, three different types of chocolate bonbons, and one sugar and chocolate amenity presentation piece on which to display the bonbons, all inspired by astrology and horoscopes. Team USA chose the sign of the Rooster, symbolizing confidence and motivation, as inspiration for their chocolate and sugar showpieces.
The judging panel evaluated the overall performance of the individual teams based 40 percent on dégustation, 30 percent on work ethic and hygiene, and 30 percent on artistry and technical merit.
“It was a really positive experience to be able to see all the competitors working on that high level,” chef Johnson said in a press release. “Competitions push concepts, trends, and individuals and that moves the pastry industry forward. It also inspires young professionals to reach for that level and to challenge themselves no matter where they are.”