Express News Service

Two young pastry chefs, one of them from the Whitecaps International School for Bakery of Bengaluru, have won the Junior Pastry Indian Cup 2023.

Organized by Hammer Publishers’ Pvt Ltd, in association with the Institute of Home Economics, Delhi University, at the India Expo Centre and Mart, Greater Noida, in August, the event saw Syed Sadia and Prerna Kothari emerge as the winning team from among seven others. 

Sadia and Kothari came together as a team of serendipity. While Sadia is a student of Whitecaps International, Kothari, from Kolkata, has finished her graduation from a college in Gurgaon, and is not affiliated with any institution. Chef Ravi Dhuria of Whitecaps International School, who mentored the winning team, was looking for a candidate to pair Sadia with. 

Kothari’s passion for baking and pastry-making made her a good fit for the team. Once they came together, it seemed like they had always been a team. “We just bonded,” the girls simply say.

Who are the young chefs they look up to? French chefs Amaury Guichon and Cedric Grolet are their heroes. Kothari explains that their standard of pastry-making, especially that of choc late-flavored pastries, has set a benchmark that the two young chefs aspire to meet. The two, however, agree that it was the guidance of their mentor, Chef Ravi Dhuria, that helped them in clinching the title.

All seven teams at the competition in Delhi were judged on artistic expression and technical skills, professional ethics, hygiene, and taste. 

The participants had to showcase their expertise across six challenges. The sugar showpiece challenge was the most difficult to crack. “Rather than using sucrose, we used isomalt,” explains Sadia. Isomalt is a sugar substitute and is made from sugar alcohol. Due to its low hygroscopic property—its aversion to absorbing moisture—it has to be handled with care. “We had to hand-sculpt the showpiece with hot isomalt. It could have caused us third-degree burns had we not been careful,” Kothari says.

‘Myths and Legends’ was the theme of the competition in Delhi. The winners sculpted the sugar showpiece as an Indian saint; for ideas for the other dishes, they drew from India’s legends. India will always be the pot they draw from, for ideas and inspiration “whatever be the theme of the finals”, they say. The girls are looking forward to trying pizza and gelato in Italy, where the finals will be held.

The Junior Pastry World Cup will be held during the SIGEP show in January 2024, in Rimini, Italy

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