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.
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):