Page 41 - Pastry & Baking Magazine

the level of international competition with top pastry chefs
from five other countries and proudly represented the United
States and the sponsors who supported them in a close match
with First Place Overall winners, Team Japan, and Third Place
winners, Team Netherlands.
The other competitors heralded from China, Mexico, and
South Korea where they had to undergo intense training
and competition in order to be selected to represent their
country’s best in pastry.  The selection process for the
World Pastry Championship began in 2010 when the event
organizers culled pastry professionals from around the globe
with impressive pedigrees and experience in competition. 
Much like the Olympics, each country held a qualifying
round of National Pastry Team Championships to ensure
that their best pastry chefs would be sent to compete on the
international level.
Team USA’s Captain, Chef Donald Wressell, is a seasoned
pastry chef who has garnered national and international
recognition throughout his nearly 30 years in the industry. 
Prior to joining the staff of The French Pastry School, his
teammates had varied experiences that led them to this
undertaking: Chef Scott Green, graduated The French Pastry
School’s L’Art de la Pâtisserie program and continued to gain
experience at esteemed culinary establishments throughout
the US; Chef Joshua Johnson received his training at the
Ritz-Carlton Chicago under co-founder of The French Pastry
School, Sébastien Canonne, M.O.F.; and, the team’s alternate,
Chef Della Gossett was the Executive Pastry Chef at the
legendary restaurant, Charlie Trotter’s, for ten years.  Together
in 2011, this collective of chefs made history by winning the
National Pastry Team Championships and thus earning the
honor to become the first all American-born team to represent
the United States in the World Pastry Championships.
Almost immediately after winning that title, the chefs began
training for the event that would have them competing on an
international stage.  As in the National Championship, the
chefs played to their individual strengths while working as a
team and with coaches to create a cohesive presentation. Chef
Stéphane Glacier, M.O.F. consulted on workmanship and
sugar technique while Chef Stéphane Leroux, M.O.F. gave
special attention to artistry and chocolate work. With their
input, Chef Johnson and Green went through dozens of
versions of their respective chocolate and sugar showpieces
while simultaneously working on tasting items with Chef
Wressell.  Throughout the process, team alternate, Chef
Gossett cross-trained on all aspects of the competition and
assisted in planning the logistics so everything would run
smoothly for her teammates.
The team held the vast majority of their training at
The French Pastry School while still teaching courses and
volunteering their time for events.  The team’s sponsors,
friends, family, and colleagues were involved throughout
every step of the process and all the chefs acknowledged
the importance of their support.  This kind of preparation
was not only crucial to the success of the team but also
a great challenge for them personally as chef instructors. 
Competition forces you to be a better pastry chef,” Chef
Green explained.  “Everything has to improve: you have to
be faster, more precise, more creative.  Becoming better chefs
means we can become better teachers.”
With the high level of competitors, the panel of renowned
pastry chef judges evened the playing field by evaluating the
overall performance of the individual teams based 40% on
degustation, 30% on work ethic and hygiene, and 30% on
artistry and technical merit.  Each team had to produce one
chocolate showpiece, one sugar showpiece, fourteen 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.
Taking their cue from the Chinese Zodiac, Team USA chose
the sign of the Rooster, symbolizing confidence and motivation,
as inspiration for their chocolate and sugar showpieces.  Using
blown sugar claws, wattles, and comb; cast-sugar body; and
pastillage feathers airbrushed black, white, and gold, Chef Scott
Green portrayed a rooster spoiling for a fight.  Chef Joshua
Johnson’s chocolate showpiece flapped its wings, flaunting
motley feathers which had been expertly cut, shaped, and
arrayed.  Each showpiece weighed between thirty and forty
pounds and had to be moved from their workstations to a
display table before the final judging took place.
Their muse also shone through during the tasting portion
in which Chefs Wressell, Green, and Johnson presented several
composed desserts to the panel of elite pastry chefs from
around the world.  Aiming to use flavors that spoke of the
seasons and to incorporate uniquely American products, the
Team USA’s
Entremet Glacé
Scott Green