Classic Fine Foods Christmas Entremet Contest 2016 open for entries

The  Staff Canteen

Coming into its third year, the Classic Fine Foods competition aims to promote UK pastry talent and encourage creativity whilst strengthen skill and technique. This year participants are asked to create a Christmas Entremet for 10 people weighing no less than 1.250kg. They must also use at least one Valrhona chocolate, Capfruit fruit puree and one PCB item of their choice. The winner will travel to New York for four nights where they will be treated to a two day, hands-on training course at L’Ecole Valrhona, Brooklyn as well as have their recipe published in Chef magazine.

The Staff Canteen caught up with last year’s Classic Fine Foods winner, Maxime Michelot, Demi Chef de Partie for the Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard in London. We found out why he entered the bûche de Noël (Christmas Log) competition and how it helped boost his confidence to go on to become the new UK Junior Chocolate Master 2016.

Prior to his role as Demi Chef de Partie for the Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard in London, Maxime was the pastry chef at the upmarket London department store, Harrods. A position he held for around one and a half years before moving on to join Shangri-La Hotel.

At first, Maxime was wary about entering competitions until he decided to give Classic Fine Foods’ Christmas Log contest a shot. Beating off stiff competition from 24 of his peers, Maxime went on to win the competition and is now eager to enter many more.

He said: “I wanted to challenge myself and get my name out there as well as see how I would do against my peers.”

He continued: “They really challenge me and I can feel the adrenaline when I’m competing so it’s been a real confidence booster. It’s really exhilarating waiting to see how you have performed.”

For the Christmas Log contest the 25 finalists were asked to create a classic Bûche de Noël using at least a Valrhona chocolate from a selection of dark, milk, white or blond chocolates and a PCB Creation item of their choice. The contestants were then whittled down to just five based on the number of ‘likes' on Classic Fine Food’s Facebook and Twitter pages. After a blind tasting by a panel of judges, Maxime was crowned the overall winner for his spiced cinnamon log with Valrhona Opalys bavaroise mousse, passion fruit and mandarin jelly with poached pear and coconut dacquoise base.

For winning Maxime was treated to a five-star weekend in Rome, with a dinner in a two-Michelin-starred restaurant.

Maxime trained around the clock for the competition which definitely helped him stand out from his competitors on the day, “I trained for about two months, I was even training on my days off and would come to work to practice.” He explained, “There was a lot of training involved until I knew that it was perfect.”

After his triumphant win in the bûche de Noël competition Maxime went on to compete in more contests which included being named the UK Junior Chocolate Masters 2016 earlier this year. Maxime will now be the Jury President of the Christmas Entremet Contest 2016 along with fellow judges, Pastry Chef for TheTasteLab by Classic Fine Foods London, Denis Dramé MCA and Valrhona Pastry Chef UK, Luke Frost.

This year only five will make it through to the final where they will be invited to re-create their entremet in front of a live audience in the recently opened TheTasteLab by Classic Fine Foods. The panel of judges will then select the winner based on taste and appearance.  A rating from the panel and votes cast through The Christmas Entremet Contest website will determine the final five that will make it through to the live round in November.

TheTasteLab is a new element to this year’s competition and has been designed to help strengthen techniques and develop new skills.

Maxime said: “I think it’s even more challenging for the entries now because it’s on a stage in front of people so you need to really check everything.”

He added: “Competitions like Classic Fine Foods take a lot of skill and training so you need to really give it all you’ve got. I would definitely enter another Classic Fine Foods competition because I like the challenge.”

Enter Classic Fine Foods Christmas Entremet Contest before midnight on Monday, September 26, 2016. You must create an entremet and use at least one Valrhona chocolate, one Capfruit fruit puree and one PCB item of your choice. Please send the full recipe and two high resolution images of your entremet (one of the whole entremet and one of the cut entremet so we can see the inside) to [email protected]

The winner will fly to New York for a 2 day hands-on training course at L’Ecole Valrhona Brooklyn. The prize includes flight tickets to New York and accommodation for 4 nights.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 24th August 2016

Classic Fine Foods Christmas Entremet Contest 2016 open for entries