Team Canada takes on the world.
By Laura Aiken
Every two years, an international swarm of industry converges on Paris, France, for a true celebration of the art, heart and of course business of baking. This grand old party is the Europain & Intersuc trade show, held this year from Feb. 5 to 9 at the Paris-Nord Villepinte exhibition place.
This event brings together the bakery, pastry, ice cream, chocolate and confectionary industries. Here’s the number crunch for 2016: There were 63,282 attendees, of which 27 per cent were international visitors from 137 different countries. There were 679 exhibitors and brands, five competitions, 140 demonstrations and conferences, and seven tons of food products offered to the Red Cross at the close of the show.
The terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, that left 130 dead rocked the country and the fear rippled globally. The terrorist attacks affected attendance, said Marie-Odile Fondeur, president of Europain & Intersuc. As compared to 2016, the 2014 Europain & Intersuc show featured 804 exhibitors and brands, and welcomed 79,950 attendees. The 2016 show saw a six per cent increase in attendance from France, and Fondeur reported the quality of attendees was very high.
Oh, and one very key visitor came for the very first time: François Hollande, the president of France.
“The reason for my presence here today is to assert how much the bakery-pastry [industry] represents as a force, a heritage, as a source of enjoyment and also for the future, ” he stated in a press release.
The biggest change Fondeur noted for the 2016 edition was the quality and number of demos and labs, which she said were very successful. The show brought in famous French bakers to demonstrate and the best equipment for the labs.
Bakers Journal missed this edition of the show, but has rounded up its highlights, results, and trends from this side of the pond. Baking Team Canada was there and Bakers Journal got the full scoop on what a wild ride the intense Bakery World Cup really is. How could the Olympics of baking be anything but?
So hang on to your chef’s hats, and let’s get right to the action.
Team Canada: you win some, you lose some
Baking Team Canada missed the podium this year, but not the drama, excitement, lessons and loss of sleep that come with competing on the world stage. In the end, Canada placed seventh, just behind Japan, who has historically been in the top three. South Korea won first and achieved a place on the podium for the first time in history, followed by Taiwan in second and France in third. The remaining competitors were: Brazil, China, Japan, Mauritius, Netherlands, Russia, Turkey, and United States. Rianne Kuintjes from the Netherlands won the title of World Young Bakery Hopeful.
Team Canada’s members were Marcus Mariathas, director of product development for ACE Bakery, who competed in baguettes and world breads; James Holehouse, graduate of NAIT’s baking apprentice program, who did the artistic showpiece; Alan Dumonceaux, chair of NAIT’s baking program and Team Canada manager, who made the Viennese pastries; and Elien de Herdt, a graduate of NAIT’s baking program, who brought her skills to the inaugural “Young Bakery Hopeful” category. Mario Fortin, bakery consultant and owner of Forma-Lab, coached the team, and Clayton Folkes, NAIT baking instructor, served as its technical advisor. Former Team Canada members Tracey Muzzolini and Bill Clay also helped prepare the bakers for success.
For Team Canada, some things went right and some things went wrong, but everything started off pretty smoothly, Dumonceaux said. Which means nobody fell over in the face of $1,800 in extra luggage charges — and the team left the heavy stuff behind, planning to purchase it there. Baking abroad is costly work. They incurred around 4,000 euros in equipment costs for things like pans, marble slabs and 500 euro ice blankets. The tab to ship what they brought back was 1,400 euros, and that was after they donated much of the weightiest cargo to competition sponsor Lesaffre, as it would have cost more to ship it home than buy it here, Dumonceaux said.
A lack of refrigeration at the hotel or show was the biggest challenge the team faced upon arrival, he said. The team did some prep at an off-site baking centre, packed it all in ice and left it in their rented cargo van. The outside temperatures were around five or six degrees, Dumonceaux said, so it stayed cool enough to work out well. Further prep happened in the hotel room, with Dumonceaux cleaning shrimp and filleting salmon for sandwiches the morning of the competition. Teams are given two hours the evening prior on-site and then eight hours on their competition day to produce nine different breads, 13 unique Viennese pastries, a showpiece and four types of sandwiches. All three team members needed to share space and equipment to get the job done. Team Canada got their two hours on Feb. 6, and had their full day on Feb. 7.
“The team didn’t do great on the day,” Dumonceaux shared. “We were late almost 20 minutes, and some product got over-baked, but that’s what happens in competition. We didn’t get the result we were looking for. We would have placed higher if we weren’t late and we’d baked everything right … Lots of stuff goes well. It’s the few little things that don’t go well that kills you in scoring.”
He added with pride: “We had the best cheering squad on the day. The Canadian contingent was fantastic. They sang an old hockey song for us; it was exciting.”
The team was also particularly proud of how well the showpiece and sandwiches turned out, he said, remarking that all the sandwiches looked and tasted great. The team made all the sauces and condiments.
For the first sandwich, they used a pressure cooker to make pulled pork during the competition, and placed it on a brioche mustard bun topped with homemade coleslaw and deep fried horseradish. For the second sandwich, they took a mini croissant bun and topped it with brie, marinated endive cooked sous vide style in orange butter, plum sauce and garnishes. The third sandwich made use of their nutritional bun and filled it with brined salmon and gin-salt cured salmon marinated with maple syrup, Limoncello and herbs. They also made a salmon cream cheese spread that was piped on, and then added lemon and lime zest, pink peppercorns, dill, seasonings and garnishes. The fourth sandwich was a vegetarian panini cut into triangles with lots of colour and flavour.
For products reflecting Canada, they made a lobster crab filling rolled up in croissant and brioche, topped with tomato jelly and a seafood ceviche for garnish. The team also made a wood grain pattern to look like a tree stump and baked maple blueberry sweet buns, which Dumonceaux said turned out very tasty.
It was an intense competition that followed a long period of intense preparation, in Paris and well before.
“Until you’ve done the competition, you don’t realize how it impacts your life. No one’s sleeping, everybody’s got stress, and you’re thinking about it 24 hours a day… Even after the competition still we weren’t sleeping because it was a lot of ‘what if I would had done this or should have done this or this would have gone better if I had done this,’ so it really is quite impactful on your personal life. You sort of have to put a lot of your personal life on hold while you’re in it because you’re practicing on all your days off and you’re at work practicing, but I would do it all over again. I’m not complaining about it at all, it’s just that it really is a tremendous amount of physical stress, and emotional stress as well.”
Europain hosted two additional culinary competitions to the Bakery World Cup. For the International Confectionary Art Competition, Italy scored gold, followed by Malaysia and Japan. In the French Schools Cup “Excellence” category, the top three were CIFAM Sainte Luce sur Loire, CFA CM CCI 18 Bourges, and CFA des Métiers de l’Indre Châteauroux. In the “Aspiration” category, CFA Compagnons du Devoir Strasbourg, CFA BPF Rouen and Lycée des Métiers Concarneau took the top three positions.
Trends and demonstrations
The bakery area had three new additions. The Eat-in Bakery section focused on solutions specific to catering and snacking, while The Baker’s Restaurant featured demonstrations to address these two trends through themes such as “gluten-free snacking” and “snacking desserts.” The Baker’s Lab was created as a space to host full days of interactive workshops by famous contributors such as MOF Boulanger Philippe Hermenier.
The new Intersuc Lab housed demonstrations on sweets, such as 3D printing with chocolate and gluten-free biscuits.
The Festival Sens & Chocolat organized by PLANETGOUT featured roundtables, demonstrations, workshops, tastings, and professional master classes on cocoa beans and grand cru of the world. This year, Venezuela was the star country of the festival. First place for grand cru Venezuelan chocolate bar went to Rozsavölgyi Chocolate (Chuao) de Zsolt Szabald. For bonbon design, first prize went to MOF Pâtissier Arnaud Larher.
Schools Street was a returning feature in the show, and is a section of exhibit space dedicated to baking and pastry training programs.
Fondeur shared some of the key trends in French bakeries that the show addressed. The development of restaurants in bakeries is a big one, and this resulted in a lot of excitement around The Baker’s Restaurant area. Transparency is also a big trend in France today, and people want to see the baker making bread and know how it is produced. Bakers are also expected to produce a large diversity of breads. A third key trend is an increase in the number of bakeries dedicated to just one product, such as éclairs, doughnuts or madeleines.
What’s in store for 2018?
Europain & Intersuc will return to Paris in 2018 with some key changes in store, Fondeur said. Show management plans to reduce the show from five days to four, as she said five days is too long for the visitors and the cost is high for the exhibitors. It is still being determined which dates and days of the week the show will run.
All in all, it seems plenty of excitement was had at this year’s event. It’s sure to be one Team Canada won’t soon forget.