After months of practice that put all their pastry training to the test, on Wednesday, March 13, six VCC baking and pastry arts students competed in the Nespresso Café Gourmand semi-final, held this year for the first time in Western Canada.
Their challenge sounds simpler than it was: create two bite-sized pastries, or mignardises, to pair with Nespresso coffees. One pastry had to harmonize with a Nespresso “Master Origin” coffee from either Ethiopia, Indonesia, or India. The other was required to contain Nespresso coffee as an ingredient.
Prior to the competition, our six VCC competitors attended workshops with Nespresso Coffee Sommelier Élyse Lambert where they learned the science behind coffee fermentation, roasting, and blending as well as professional tasting techniques and culinary tips.
On competition day, family, friends, and fellow students gathered in VCC’s Downtown baking lab for a (literal) taste of the action. Each competitor had three hours to create six portions of their signature mignardises. The bakers then bravely presented their dishes to a panel of prestigious industry judges including Thomas Haas, Lukas Gurtner of Sonora Resort, Adam Chandler of BETA5, and Marie-Andrée Pelletier representing Nespresso Canada.
In the end, the judges selected Level 2 apprentice Angela Wu as Vancouver’s semi-final winner. Second place went to Megan (Youngheon) Lee and third place to Sammy Zheng. Congratulations to all competitors including Joshua Nacar, Rea Lopez, and Joyce Peng (pictured below) on stellar perormances.
Following her victory, Angela will travel to Toronto to compete in the Nespresso Café Gourmand National Finale on Monday, April 1 against semi-finalists from George Brown College and Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ).
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Think life would be sweet as a pastry chef? Come chat with VCC’s world-class baking and pastry arts instructors at our next Experience VCC open house on Wednesday, April 24.