24th Annual US Pastry Competition at The International Restaurant Show

Detail shot of the showpiece by Chef Benjamin Shelton of Pre-Gel America Showpiece by Chef Benjamin Shelton of Pre-Gel America
Cake judging table with Chef Dominique Ansel (sitting, off center right) and Michael Laiskonis (off-center left) The Bonbon Judging Panel with Chef Johnny Iuzzini (far right)
Photo of the winner’s showpiece (Chef Benjamin Shelton) and the two judges’ tables for pastry and bonbons

This morning I was invited to attend the 24th Annual US Pastry Competition sponsored by Paris Gourmet that took place within The International Restaurant Show in Jacob Javits Center. This year’s theme was about the woman.

At this competition, I saw highly respected New York City pastry chefs, like Michael Laiskonis (his Twitter), Johnny Iuzzini, and Dominique Ansel (yes, the chef who I adore his pastries), who were part of the judging panel.

My Champagne to start the pastry tasting Dark chocolate griotte cherry gelee and vanilla cremeux by Chef Sandro Micheli of Restaurant Daniel, NYC
Coconut almond dacquoise, coconut nougatine, strawberry biscuit, strawberry confit, mango cream, white chocolate & coconut mousse by Chef Kivanc Kaymak of Fountainbleu Miami Beach, FL Chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, pineapple curd, pineapple orange compote, and cashew crust by Chef Cesar Barachina of Foxwoods Resort & Casino, CT
Almond hazelnut crunch, milk chocolate & ginger mousse, banana cake, apricot caramel cremeux, passion fruit & Mandarin gelee, chocolate mirror glaze, mini orange macaron by Chef Monica Ng of Sirio Restaurant at The Pierre Hotel, NYC "Lady Preceieuse" milk chocolate sponge, Breton sable, dark chocolate leaf, passion fruit & caramel cremeux, light coconut mousse, chocolate glaze by Chef Olliver Maxime of J House Hotel, Greenwich, CT
Champagne to start and some of the cakes I have eaten

As generally expected, some cakes executed better than others. Interestingly enough, there were some repeating choices of flavors with chocolate like chocolate, nuts highlighted with citrus and chocolate and tropical fruits.

Starting with some lovely brut Champagne, shortly we were served with sixteen (16) various slices of cakes of the competition’s finalists. My personal favorite of all the cakes I have had were by Chef Sandro Micheli of restaurant Daniel in New York City (and he won 2nd place). I really liked the sublime, ethereally creamy textures of the dark chocolate mousse and ganache, Griotte cherry gelee and vanilla cremeux and the balanced flavors of tart cherries and dark chocolate gave the cake structure. There was a beautiful looking red lacquered cake but I did not like the strange burnt aftertaste (as I’ve said to my tablemates, it’s like a beautiful woman who lacks substance). Most were good but not really remarkable.

The most stunning chocolate and sugar showpiece I noticed prior to the tasting was by Chef Benjamin Shelton of Pre-Gel America – and he won this competition.

Congratulations to all the chefs for making it to the finals, and especially to Chef Shelton taking top prize and Chef Micheli for taking second place.

To view more photos of this meal, please view the slideshow below (or CLICK HERE for my photo set):

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Information:
US Pastry Competition by Paris Gourmet at the International Restaurant Show
in Jacob Javits Center
Website: http://www.internationalrestaurantny.com
655 W 34th St
New York, NY 10001