The UK team for the 2017 Pastry World Cup has been announced at an exclusive afternoon tea at The Berkeley Hotel, London.

The Pastry World Cup is a biennial event, first held in 1989, and is designed to showcase the world’s finest pastry chefs and their creations.

Led by Café Royale’s (London) executive pastry chef Andrew Blas, the three-man team is filled out by Florian Poirot of FP Macaroons (York) and Christopher Zammit of Camilleri Kitchen (East Sussex). Both are fresh from success at the UK Pastry Open 2015.

The team president once more is Martin Chiffers, a pastry chef with over 30 years’ global experience in the industry. He has previously won the European Pastry Cup, a heat to qualify for the World Pastry Cup, twice and will coach and mentor the team ahead of the event to be held in Lyon, France on 22-23 January.

Six hours

Over the course of six hours, teams from 22 countries from across the world will have to complete three chocolate desserts, three frozen fruit desserts, 12 identical desserts on a plate, one sugar sculpture, one chocolate sculpture and one ice sculpture.

While most countries have to fight their way through one of four regional heats to get to the final, the top seven countries (based on results from the last three competitions) enjoy automatic qualification. The UK is one of those seven, along with France, Japan and current title-holder Italy.

Chiffers said: “We’ve come a long way since we started in 2011 but we can’t rest on our laurels. Although the top seven placement for 2015 means we can use all our resources for the 2017 final, without needing to qualify for the European Pastry Cup, we will have a lot of practice and planning ahead. I want to try and fit in at least 35 practice sessions, so it’s going to be the hardest prep ever.”

Florian Poirot was recently declared Overall Winner and winner of the Best Sugar Display category at the UK Pastry Open 2015. The event is connected to the Pastry World Cup, helping in the selection of the UK team, and Poirot’s win guaranteed him a place on the team.

At the same competition, Christopher Zammit won Best Tasting Dessert and Best Valrhona Chocolate Display.