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French Dairy Board honors Middle East pastry chefs of the future in Dubai

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French Dairy Board honors Middle East pastry chefs of the future in Dubai
Written by Harry S. Johnson

The French Dairy Board and the European Union, have once again proved its commitment to supporting the next generation of pastry chefs in the Middle East through the organization of the Cream Spirit competition, which saw Jordanian, Sanad Jaber crowned the winner.

The competition, held at the International Centre of Culinary Arts (ICCA) Dubai, forms an integral element of CNIEL’s commitment to training, educating, and teaching aspiring young and future pastry chefs in the GCC. As part of the campaign, they had the opportunity to learn from one of the world’s foremost pastry chefs, Claire Heitzler, a protégé of the legendary chef Alain Ducasse.

Under the specialist eye of Chef Claire, and renowned Dubai-based pastry experts, brothers Chef Wassim and Chef Omar Orfali, the young chefs were challenged to take the classic French cream pastry, Saint Honoré, and add a modern twist.

A total of 11 budding pastry chefs from countries including the UAE, Jordan, Morocco, and India took part in the competition. Joining Jaber on the ‘top table’ were Intissar El Soussi from Morocco, and Sudhakshina Iyer from India.

Laurent Damiens, Director, CNIEL, said: “Despite the difficulties of the past year, we are committed to providing young chefs and future professionals with the opportunity to challenge themselves and learn from some of the best in the business”.

“Every year, we are blown away by the talent from the region, and this year was no different. The creativity, taste, and presentation of what we have seen has been extraordinary,” he added.

The competition was judged by Chef Claire Heitzler; Chef Mohamed Orfali, founder of Orfali Bros; social media influencer Samantha Wood, creator of Foodiva; food influencer Homan Asayo; ICCA course director Shanaaz Rajaas; and Laurent Damiens.

As part of the competition, all aspiring chefs were treated to a demonstration by Chef Claire, who showcased her skills when making a Mont-Blanc, a classic of French pastry. This was followed by a Q&A session where all competing chefs had the opportunity to learn more from Chef Claire and brothers Chef Wassim and Omar Orfali.

Concluding the day, a roundtable discussion was held to review the pastry industry with topics including sustainability, zero-waste, origin, and quality all discussed during the session.