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U.S. Pastry Competition Pastry Chef of the Year 2018

Paris Gourmet Presents the 29th Annual U.S. Pastry Competition

Who is ready for dessert? Are you ready to feast your eyes on some of the most spectacular desserts from the 29th Annual U.S. Pastry Competition? Held during the 2018 International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York and hosted by Paris Gourmet, several of the nation’s leading pastry chefs competed for the prestigious honor of being called Pastry Chef of the Year.

While some of these will look for like artwork, they are in fact entirely edible desserts. Over a dozen finalists showcased their showpieces inspired by “The Great Race” at the Javits Center.  The leading pastry chefs were selected to participate were tasked with creating a showpiece derived from any form of recognized racing, such as car racing, swimming, horse racing, running, cycling and boating. They had three hours to set-up their exhibit and were each permitted one assistant.

The Pastry chefs showcased their talents by creating “petit gateau buffet” (mini cake/dessert display) and a plated dessert, exhibited along highly technical chocolate sculpted showpieces using Cacao Noel brand chocolate. The top eye-catching winning desserts included:

Stephen Sullivan – Winner & U.S. Pastry Competition Pastry Chef of the Year 2018

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Steven Tran – 2nd Place Winner of the 29th U.S. Pastry Competition

2nd Place Winner of the 29th U.S. Pastry Competition

Courtney Cormier – 3rd Place Winner of the 29th U.S. Pastry Competition

3rd Place Winner of the 29th U.S. Pastry Competition

Alexandra Inkley – Honorable Mention Winner of the 29th U.S. Pastry Competition

Honorable Mention Winner of the 29th U.S. Pastry Competition

 “It is amazing to see the incredible chocolate sculpted showpieces from these extremely talented chefs. Board members of the Societe Culinaire Philanthropique, one of the oldest and most prestigious chef associations in the world, presided over the judging procedures with over $16,000 of the award money presented,” said Tom Loughran, Vice President for the Event.

U.S. Pastry Competition

The pastry competition also had a Junior Division, the winning desserts included:

Michael Metcalf – Junior Division Grand Prize Winner

Junior Division Grand Prize Winner Michael Metcalf

Sizhen Ivy Chen – Junior Division 2nd Place Winner

Junior Division 2nd Place Winner

Michael Fersner – Junior Division 3rd Place Winner

Junior Division 3rd Place Winner Michael Fersner

“The U.S. Pastry Competition, now in its 29th year, is America’s most prestigious pastry event and we are excited to welcome the competitors and judges to the leading restaurant and foodservice event in the heart of New York City,” stated Dominique Noel, Vice President of Paris Gourmet, the competition sponsor. “We look forward to a dazzling array of entries from the best and most creative pastry chefs.”

Other notable mentions we had to highlight include desserts by:

Xolisile Medina

Timothy Maguire

Julie Velasquez

Sequoya Anderson

The breathtaking competition was co-sponsored by Cacao Noel Chocolate, Pastry 1 (pastry ingredients), Beurremont Butter, Gourmand, and Maison de Choix. For more information, visit www.parisgourmet.com.

Celebrating the Galette des Rois w/ FIAF: A Cake Fit for a King…or Queen

The ball has dropped and the fireworks have long fizzled out, but don’t let the post-holiday blues sink in just yet. We’re still getting into the swing of 2018 and the New Year celebration should continue all throughout January. To keep the party going and to invite more luck and sweetness into our lives, we looked to the French. Specifically, we went to the epitome of French culture and language in New York City, the French Institute Alliance Francaise or FIAF for short. On January 17, we headed to FIAF’s Le Skyroom event space to enjoy some wine, cheese, bread, and cakes with a royal history, Galette des Rois, and Brioche des Rois.

While the Galette des Rois or the “Kings’ cake” is enjoyed in many parts of Europe, Canada, Latin America, and the United States, the focus was on the traditional French Galette des Rois. Dating back to the middle ages, the galette des Rois is served only in the month of January. It celebrates the Epiphany or the visit of the three kings to the Christ child.  It is a puff pastry confection with a frangipane filling. However, different variations exist depending on the region in France. The traditional galette is a light flaky golden brown pastry packed with a dense and palatable almond filling. We were fortunate enough to also taste a Brioche des Rois. The Brioche des Rois is more colorful than its cousin and can be found in the South of France. It’s made with raisins, candied fruits, and orange blossom water topped with pearl sugar and more candied fruits.

The lightness and fluffiness of the bread is balanced with the thick sweetness of the fruits. Best of all, baked into the dense filling and buried within the flaky layers of any galette is a fève or a porcelain charm. Whoever finds the fève inside their piece, gets crowned king or queen for a day. A box of Galette des Rois often comes with gold paper crowns for the lucky guy or gal who gets to rule over the party. Not only that, it’s also said that whoever finds the fève will have good luck for the rest of the year. An important thing to note when serving galettes with fèves in them—be sure to warn your guests to eat slowly and look out for the charms to avoid choking and chipped teeth incidents.

But hurry and get yourself this fun dessert before month’s end! We recommend getting one from Maison Kayser, the bakery who generously supplied the savory spread and the galettes at FIAF. Don’t forget to grab a bottle of wine from Gabriella Fine Wines, who also provided the perfect pairing to our feast. Bon Appétit!

IHOP Premieres French Toasted Donuts for a Limited Time

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. At IHOP, it can also be the most delicious. IHOP continues to break the rules of breakfast with three distinctive dishes hot off the test kitchen griddles. Elevating the breakfast treat that is french toast by combining it with donuts, IHOP is taking breakfast to another level of delicious. The IHOP French Toasted Donuts feature classic donuts dipped in sweet vanilla batter and then French toasted. The new lineup is available in three decadent, mouthwatering flavors ranging from savory to sweet.

“At IHOP, we’re always looking for fresh new ways to excite our guests and bring unexpected flavors together,” said Chef Nevielle Panthaky, Vice President, Culinary at IHOP. “This is a delicious mash-up of the classic donut everyone knows and loves, dipped in a creamy vanilla batter, French toasted to a light golden brown and topped off with flavors such as maple glaze and hickory-smoked bacon. And who better to do it than IHOP, the brand that has owned all-day breakfast for almost six decades?”

Bacon & Maple French Toasted Donut

The Bacon & Maple French Toasted Donut is a Bavarian cream filled donut, dipped in vanilla French toast batter, griddled, then topped with rich maple glaze and savory hickory-smoked bacon crumbles.

Strawberries & Cream French Toasted Donut

The Strawberries & Cream French Toasted Donut is a Bavarian cream filled donut, dipped in vanilla French toast batter, griddled, then topped with strawberries in a juicy glaze and powdered sugar.

Apple Fritter French Toasted Donut

The Apple Fritter French Toasted Donut is a warm apple fritter dipped in vanilla French toast batter, griddled, then topped with sweet cinnamon apples, powdered sugar and whipped topping.

We had the pleasure of getting an exclusive first taste of all three of these decadent breakfast donuts at an event with Chef Nevielle Panthaky, VP of Culinary at IHOP. It was an evening of ultimate decadence as we satisfied our almost insatiable appetite for these sinful breakfast treats. We also had the opportunity to recreate or create our own French Toasted Donut, thanks to the wide variety of available toppings made available to us.

The French Toasted Donuts are available from July 31st through September 24th at participating IHOP restaurants nationwide. The new menu items can be enjoyed on their own or as part of a combo meal with the choice of eggs, bacon, sausage or ham, and more.