The Craft Guild of Chefs Pastry Chef Graduate Awards - top tips on how to pass pastry by Will Torrent

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st April 2017

The Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards is celebrating its 16th year and it's the third year for the Pastry Chef Graduate Awards.

The Staff Canteen wanted to bring you the best tips for passing the Pastry Chef Graduate Awards and who better to ask for advice than Consultant Pastry Chef and one of the Pastry Graduate Awards examiners, Will Torrent.

**The Graduate Awards are an examination for chefs, aged 23 and under, designed to test and improve the skills that chefs have learnt at college and in their early careers, and take them to the next level. Chefs have until Sunday, 1st April 2018 to submit their entries. You can complete your entry form online here.

Here are Will's top ten tips:

1. Practice Practice Practice - spend as much time as possible practicing, even if it's little bits, but make sure you get some timed run-throughs in. You can plan the most amazing desserts, showpiece and chocolates but if you can't do them in the time allowance, you will lose marks.

2. Plan Plan Plan - plan as much as possible! Write a details time plan and equipment list so that you don't have to think about it on the day - the less you have to think about the more time you have to show off your skills and techniques. It may sound silly, but write every step in your time plan even "wash hands"...

3. Don't over complicate it - sometimes, simple is best and in the heat of the moment, things often go wrong with complicated things. Keep it simple and show us perfection.

4. Don't underestimate the classics - don't throw the kitchen sink and everything else at your projects - we don't need to see everything you can do, we want to see what you can do really well, so play to your strengths and don't forget, the classic flavour combinations and desserts are classics for a reason - they work and we love them!

5. Technique is everything - we want to see skills and skills done properly. Work on everything as its the little marks that make the difference between being the awarded the award and not.

6. Work cleanly - you wouldn't work in a mess in your own kitchen, so why should that change when you're not there. In fact, it's probably even more important to work cleanly, safely and hygienically in a competition as the judges will be watching your every move, even checking the bins for wastage.

7. Stay calm and carry on - don't worry if things go wrong, statistically, they may well do. Keep calm and carry on. Take a deep breath, take a few minutes, gain composure and crack on!

8. Don't not present - if things go wrong and don't go to plan, please whatever you do, don't give up and don't show anything, otherwise, we as judges have no choice but to award you 0 for that task. Present something even if its unfinished - that way you'll at least get some marks.

9. Be a sponge - at the Mentor Day, take in everything like a sponge. There will be experiences and masterclasses that you won't get every day so soak it all up and enjoy it at the same time.

10. Ask questions - don't be afraid to ask questions and no question is silly, as someone else might be thinking it. We are here to help you achieve the Graduate Award and become better pastry chefs, so don't think not to ask!

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st April 2017

The Craft Guild of Chefs Pastry Chef Graduate Awards - top tips on how to pass pastry by Will Torrent