Former Level 3 Professional Patisserie and Confectionery student Caitlin is celebrating being crowned the winner of the Young Pastry Chef of the Year competition. Having successfully competed in the semi-finals while studying here at Farnborough, Caitlin proved her abilities in the final stretch of the competition with continued support from her lecturers, after it was delayed until June 2021.
The competition challenged entrants to demonstrate pastry perfection, testing their ability to make a dessert that uses a variety of patisserie techniques. Caitlin, who studied with us all the way from Level 1 to Level 3, wowed judges with her mouthwatering dish, which featured a carefully crafted chocolate dome and a sensational combination of flavours.
Reflecting on the experience, Caitlin commented: “The competition took place at the Claire Clarke Academy. I thought it was going to be scary, and it was! But it was also a lot calmer than I’d expected and I really enjoyed it. It was a fun opportunity and I got to meet a lot of other chefs.
The competition finals involved a 2-hour challenge where we had to create a dessert. I made a spin on a recipe, adapting it to demonstrate techniques like chocolate tempering for the chocolate dome, working with cocoa butter, dehydrating sponge cake and more.”
Caitlin’s winning dessert was a white chocolate bavarois with lemon puree, crisp lemon sponge, dill and pickled cucumber, served in a white chocolate shell with rye meringue. Judges commented on the dessert’s great use of techniques, describing the texture and flavours as “stunning”.
The competition was judged by Benoit Blin – Chef Pâtissier at Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons, Jerome Dreux – Town and Country Fine Foods, and Jasbir Dawar – Executive Head Chef of the Hilton at London Heathrow, Terminal 5.
For winning the competition, Caitlin has been awarded with the David Lyell Scholarship trophy, a glass trophy from the Master Chefs of Great Britain, an engraved silver salver, a cash prize, and a Chefi knife case roll.
“I felt shocked to have won because all of the competitors’ desserts looked amazing. It was all a bit of a blur – they called my name and the next thing I knew I was standing up with a trophy in my hands and chefs surrounding me. It was a good feeling.”
“My lecturer at college and the bakery I work for both helped me to develop my skills and improve, and I think that contributed to the competition win. My lecturer has been a great chef to me because he always inspired me, believed I could go far, and definitely helped my confidence. The competition has opened quite a few doors for me because I’ve made contacts and have received a number of job offers. I hope that future chefs at the College will take part in competitions and hopefully follow in my path!”
Hospitality Lecturer and Caitlin’s tutor, Mr Hein, commented: “Throughout Caitlin’s studies she always expressed a strong passion for pastry cooking. During her final year she went from strength to strength with her pastry diploma, which I recognised and put her forward to compete at national level. We at the college, and especially me as her tutor, are very proud of not only her competition achievements but also of how far she has grown as professional pastry chef. Caitlin has shown that hard work, perseverance, passion and motivation can achieve amazing results.”