The magic of citrus in pastry
On this first sunny Sunday of May, as the first buds of the fruit trees begin to open and spread their spring fragrance, the 8 finalists of the contest met in the heart of the Andros Chef experimental orchard to display their pastry-making talent. The theme was all about citrus fruits, and the goal was simple: to win the second edition of Andros Chef Fruits de Talent’s competition!
The challenge was without a doubt worthy of citrus fruits’ richness. According to pastry chef Carl Marletti, “the strength of citrus fruits in pastry is all about contrasts, acidity and bitterness. When speaking of field of action, citrus fruits are so diverse they give you a very wide range of opportunities”.
With their ironed jackets, adjusted chef’s hats, sparkling utensils and detailed to-do lists, the 8 candidates had no time to lose to meet the expectations of this demanding competition. For this new edition, each candidate had to offer personal recipes highlighting citrus fruits and Andros Chef products.
Japanese pastry chef Keiko Nagae, who previously worked for Pierre Gagnaire and Michel Troisgros, warns them: “Capturing the taste of fruits is a tough job, but the challenge is exciting. You must find a kind of balanced technicality, without altering the taste of the fruit, which is essential.”
This statement is also shared by Chocolate Master Stéphane Bonnat who warns: “Citrus fruit in pastry is like a magic wand that can be used to give more flavor, but that can also ruin a dessert with aftertastes or interactions in the mouth that kind of revolutionize the recipe, not always for the better.”
Four creations to highlight citrus using Andros Chef products
In order to take up the challenge, the candidates had to make four different creations around citrus fruits:
- 20 individual entremets weighing 80 to 100g, with at least 3 different textures, using imperatively at least one Andros Chef fruit puree.
- 8 individual restaurant-style desserts, displayed on a plate, accompanied by a sorbet and a fruit preparation on the side.
- 3 travel cakes, from 500 to 600g, with a minimum of 2 textures and 1 Andros Chef product.
- 20 sweets, weighing 10 to 15g, 100% fruit, single-flavored with at least 2 textures, without chocolate, and with at least 1 Andros Chef product.
To help them fulfill their mission, the participants had at their disposal all the Andros Chef 100% natural fruit products: confits of citrus zest, fruit purees, high fruit compotes, fillings, fruit coulis or even semi-candied fruits.
It was not an easy task as it had to be completed in less than 7 hours! According to Paul Occhipinti, Sponsor of the contest and Meilleur Ouvrier de France chocolatier-confiseur, “to succeed in the competition, you have to respect the rules, get to the very heart of the product, and cook it without altering it. It represents a large amount of work and critical thinking, as well as a strong attention to detail and a lot of questioning. “
Jean-Charles Balthazar, President of the National Association of Pastry Trainers (Association Nationale des Formateurs en Pâtisserie – ANFP) agrees and goes on: “What we now ask of the youth is for them to know how to enhance the raw materials. If the appearance can be attractive, it’s the taste that makes us come back for more.”
An exceptional jury led by 2021 Bocuse d’Or winner
To help them get through this tricky task, each candidate could rely on their coach’s precious advice. For Sandy Violand, teacher at Lyon SEPR and coach of the 2021 Andros competition’s winner, Solveig Hoyaux, “the Andros competition is important, because it is a great experience for our youth, giving them the opportunity to express themselves in a warm and family-like atmosphere. “
In order to rate their performance, Andros Chef has brought together a jury of hand-picked professionals, presided over by an exceptional chef, Meilleur Ouvrier de France and captain of the winning French team at the 2021 Bocuse d’Or… Davy Tissot!
Around him stood a prestigious cast bringing together renowned pastry chefs, Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, a Chocolate Master, trainers and a fruit producer, to give the candidates a tasting worthy of the greatest professional competitions.
Entering this contest is first of all “discovering young talents who will potentially become the future great pastry chefs and discovering the Andros Chef brand, the fruit purees, citrus fruits and orchards all around us. It’s very interesting!” Executive Pastry Chef at Philippe Conticini’s Gianni Spadafora explains.
To Solveig Hoyaux, 2021 Andros Chef competition‘s winner and 2022 France Pastry Best Apprentice (MAF), “the competition has allowed me to gain confidence and meet incredible people, allowing us to create a professional structure, which is truly important for our future. “
Respect the rules of pastry-making and express your creativity
Our pastry chefs in the making spent hours of hard work in the tent that had been set up for the occasion and did their best to create their desserts in strict accordance to the rules of pastry, while expressing the best of their creativity.
This is what a pastry competition is all about reminds Nasserdine Mendi, Meilleur Ouvrier de France Pâtissier: “Pastry chefs can use fruit to express their imagination and madness by playing with textures and tastes.”
Measuring each ingredient to the nearest gram and centiliter, monitoring cooking times, keeping ice creams and sorbets at the right temperature, meticulously laying out each detail of the creations to submit them in time to the uncompromising eye of the jury… This was the obstacle course the apprentices had to face. Ganache, praline, whipped cream, cookie, cake, nothing was left to chance to seduce both the jury’s eyes and palates.
Then came the moment we’ve been waiting for all along: the final buffet set up. This crucial step feels like a kind of final exam offering each apprentice the opportunity to present their creations to the jury members and an audience made of the candidates’ families who attend the award ceremony.
2022 “Fruits de Talent” Andros Chef Competition winners
The pressure gradually decreased after the final deliberations of the jury and, under a bright sun, the time of the verdict finally came for our eight finalists! Before the final ranking’s announcement, three special prizes were awarded on the ephemeral podium that had been set up at the edge of the orchard.
The “COUP DE COEUR” prize, awarded to the apprentice who most impressed the jury by the quality of their work, the risks they took and the audacity of the techniques they used, was given to Coline Liard. The youngest of the competition coming from Balan MFR had been coached by Eric Bernollin, and showed great courage and abnegation.
The special “MENTION COMPLEMENTAIRE” prize was awarded to Kelly Barraud from Cahors CFA, accompanied by Sylvain Martel, while Lucie Monetti from Laxou CFA, assisted by Sylvain Musquar, won the special “MEILLEUR ENTREMETS” prize for her elegant “Insthym Citron”.
In third position stood Bérénice Vanvincq from Nîmes IRFMA and her coach of the day Jordan Joro. Her delicious dessert “Danse des pamplemousses orangée (“Orange dance of the grapefruits”) made a lasting impression.
In second position, the jury chose to reward Méline Ardoin from Ploufragan CFA, coached by Thomas Frinquard. Her dessert “Mandarine épicée” (“Spicy Mandarin”) seduced both the eyes and the palate of the jury.
Mélanie Hours from Lyon SEPR trained by Sandy Violand, was the big winner of the 2022 Andros Chef “Fruits de Talent” Competition! Her wonderful dessert “Ô Pamplemousse” (“Ô grapefruit“) was unanimously acclaimed. “I was lucky that my coach won last year with Solveig. She was super motivated to come back to the competition this year and that’s what encouraged me to give my best during my six-month training” she tells.
A commitment that was rewarded by the jury since Sandy Violand received the trophy of the National Association of Pastry Trainers (Association Nationale des Formateurs en Pâtisserie – ANFP) directly from its President, Jean-Charles Balthazar. A distinction dear to Andros Chef, which aims to promote pastry trainers’ hard work and support them thanks to a partnership with the ANFP.
With a bright smile stuck on her lips, the new winner of the contest tells: “I remember all the hours of training with Sandy in the evenings or on weekends, and I think that hard work always pays off. Everything is possible as long as we train hard for it. I feel very proud and happy to have been able to take part in the competition because I also learned again a lot of things, which is so nice! “
A pastry competition devoted to transmission
While promoting Andros Chef brand’s savoir-faire is one of the challenges of the competition, transmission is its true purpose, as Cédric Heymans, Director of Development for Andros Ingredients France, reminds us: “We have to make today’s youth – who will become tomorrow’s chefs – want to use our Andros Chef products and get their feedback on our ranges. “
Davy Tissot clearly noticed this ode to youth: “I really appreciated the family aspect and the environment. There were lots of young people and vitality, which is very important as the future is theirs! “
This second edition of Andros Chef Fruits de Talent contest was rich in delicacies and emotions and kept all its promises! We look forward to seeing you next year for a third edition that will for sure be just as warm, tasty and fruity…