WORLD CHOCOLATE MASTERS
Sydney, Australia (2012)
As Gerhard was one of the 5 best Australian Chocolatiers and a finalist at the National Selection of the "World Chocolate Masters 2012" competition, he had to create various masterpieces related to the theme: "Architecture of Taste".
Location: Royal Halls of Industries, Sydney, Australia
Criteria: Requirement to produce within 8 hours:
Moulded chocolates: 40 identical moulded chocolates, competitors’ choice of filling, with not more than 12g per piece.
Enrobed chocolate: 40 identical enrobed chocolates, competitors’ choice of filling, with not more than 12g per piece.
Entremets: 2 chocolate entremets of 18cm in diameter each and 4.5cm high with the predominate flavour being chocolate, other flavours and elements can be added.
Show piece: 1 chocolate show piece. You can pre-make all the elements of your chocolate show piece prior to the competition but they need to be assembled during competition time. No components must be joined, e.g. flower petals must not be assembled until the competition time to produce a flower. All individual pieces must be brought to the competition in individual pieces. The maximum size of the show piece is 180cm in height and 60cm in width.
Being involved in a competition, is always a challenge and very time-consuming and is often a mind- and physical drain experience where every competitor works at his personal limit. Gerhard had a full-time job as Head Chocolatier and was developing new techniques, recipes, designs, textures and showpieces for the competition after his working hours which meant a lot of sacrifices to him. That also included having no free week-ends for months which is very hard for your mind as you can never just reset the button and your mind always just thinks about chocolate, cakes and flavours. Not mentioning the physical load over months if you are unable to really rest.
Before this competition, Gerhard has never seen a vertically layered black and white technique for a carved showpiece. This is why he wanted to introduce this impressive design - for other chocolatiers to follow. Building the block, layer by layer, with hand-tempered couverture took him around 3 days as he did not just one showpiece – but for security reasons, he was adding another "back-up" showpiece which doubled the time and efforts he had to invest.
The carving process itself took him around 3 weeks and one of his personal record days were an incredible 20-hour day where he started working Saturday at 8 a.m. and finished Sunday morning at 4.a.m. After a couple of hours sleep and close to complete exhaustion, he managed to return to work 8 hours later that Sunday again and continued working on Monday morning at his regular job as if nothing had happened.
Developing the perfect recipes with the right firmness, flavour combination and balance, mixtures, decorations and the right dipping technique for the pralines means one has to do it again and again - until perfection.
The competition itself was the peak of the adrenaline rush: Gerhard did not really have time to sleep because he had to fill the van at 3.30 a.m. with all his required boxes and equipment for the competition. He arrived at 5.30 a.m. at the competition hall, set up the table at the spot and rushed with all the competition work from 6.30 a.m. until the end of the show at 4.30 p.m. - without eating anything or having a break, accompanied by a watching crowd, photographers, the Judges and a TV team… This is not everybody’s ultimate desire but definitely was an interesting experience for everyone involved, requiring a strong mind and focussed attitude.
Regardless of the fact that Gerhard’s showpiece collapsed on the way from the production table to the exhibition pedestal, he personally was very happy with the result. He can promise that every single competitor involved in a national or international competition, who works on a professional top level, does not find this exercise to be an easy one. Therefore, everyone hopes that his or her show piece is appreciated by the viewers.
Gerhard would like to express his thanks to "Zokoko" for their support.
Another project successfully completed – after which Gerhard really needed and enjoyed some days off at the beach to regain strength.