From a 28-strong list of entrants, to a short list of five pastry chefs, the winner of the 2016 Classic Fine Foods Christmas Entremet competition has been crowned.
The winner is Cecile Thiery from 5 Hertford Street, a London private members club. Her Valrhona Ivoire white chocolate entremets with Capfruit raspberry and blackcurrant purées was praised for both its flavour and “pared down but beautiful style”, according to the panel of judges.
Thiery won flights and accommodation to attend a two-day chocolate workshop at French chocolate manufacturer Valrhona’s new chocolate school in Brooklyn, New York.
The competition, now in its third year, was launched in September, and after over 4,000 people’s votes were counted, five chefs took part in the live final in London this week.
These were Jeremy Lesongeur from Harrods; Francois-Xavier Cocherel from Rhubarb; Cecile Thiery from 5 Hertford Street; Lyece Major from The Langham Hotel and Jessica Huang from The Berkeley Hotel.
They had three hours to prepare two ten-portion Christmas-themed Entremets using at least one Valrhona chocolate, one fruit purée made by French purée producer Capfruit and one item from French pastry decoration company PCB Creation.
The judges, led by last year’s winner Maxime Michelot (now demi chef de partie for the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard), awarded marks out of five for both visual appearance and taste. Technique was also taken into account.
Lyece Major from The Langham Hotel was runner up, and won a three-day hands-on course at the Classic Fine Foods Taste Lab.
Jeremy Lesongeur was third and won a dinner for two in a Michelin starred restaurant.