A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be invited by Manfred Rindler to attend the in-house competition held at the Callebaut Academy, Shanghai. This competition was co-hosted by the Callebaut Academy and yeslicake.com, and there were 9 contestants from all over China.
The theme of the competition was “七夕”, which is the Chinese Valentine’s Day. Chinese legend has it that there was a goddess from Heaven who was sent to Earth, subsequently fell in love with a farmer. This was discovered by the Gods and she was forced to leave Earth and return to Heaven. Since the separation, both of them were in pain as they longed to see each other everyday. Therefore, the Gods decided that they could see each other once a month on the 7th of July (Lunar calendar) over a birds made bridge.
This was a love story and the contestants had to make a chocolate mousse cake and a chocolate showpiece based on this theme. It was my first time witnessing a competition of this kind and it was definitely an eye opener for me, especially to watch how the contestants skilfully put together each component of their chocolate show pieces.
The contestants were all of varied levels of skills, some of them were beginners who have just recently attended a beginners’ class at the Academy. I really admired them for their passion and their effort.
The contestants were judged based on the chocolate showpiece, cleanliness of their work and the taste of the cakes.
“Will you marry me?”
“Wheel of love”
Contestant for “Marry me?” explaining the flavours of his cake and the concept of his showpiece
“Mirror, mirror/music box” – First place / second place in the background (Heart)
The music box show piece with intricate details won first place. I love this chocolate showpiece. Initially I was wondering why everything was so rough, but upon closer inspection, you can see each wheel and the concept behind the music box is amazing. Both characters were standing on a wheel and if you wind the music box, they would meet at a point – which fully represents the meaning behind the Chinese Valentine’s Day.
I forgot to get a proper picture of “Forever Love” – it was a showpiece constructed with different sized heart. From far, it looked ordinary but up close you can actually see the subtle colour differences between the hearts. This came third and personally I feel that the showpiece was overly simple and the contestant really struggled to put it together with the freeze spray. However, the layers in his cake was amazing! I don’t have a photo of it with me but unlike the other contestants who only created 2-3 layered cakes, this cake had at least 5 layers inside a white cheesecake, and the outer layer mousse framed the inserts perfectly. Love it!!
“Love” – second place
This piece came second. Personally I feel that the showpiece was presented professionally and it had more details than some of the other showpieces made by inexperienced contestants. What really drew me to this contestant was the cake – I’m not sure if this was intended but the orange insert of the cake looked like a sunset! When I saw the cake, I instantly fell in love with it and I feel that this cake represented the love story very well, every amazing day will have to come to an end eventually signified by the beautiful but inevitable sunset.
I’m really glad that I got to witness this competition, I got a lot of inspiration and I definitely learned a lot by just watching each of them work and put together a work of art!