Daniel Flecha, the third generation in a renowned family of bakers from León, was declared the winner of the III National Artisan Bakery Championship, held at InterSICOP 2019. Organised by the Spanish Confederation of Bakery, Pastry, Cake and Related Organisations (CEOPPAN), this competition aims to discover professionals who can join the National Artisan Bakery Team (Los Espigas).
Flecha, who did not expect to win, believes that participating in this competition has helped him realize that he can always go one step further in this profession.
1.- You are the son, nephew and grandson of bakers. When did you decide that you wanted to follow the family tradition and dedicate yourself to bread-making?
Perhaps because of the satisfaction and pride in bread-making that I always saw in my predecessors. I remember wanting to be able to knead the dough myself and going to the oven door every so often to see the loaves that had just been put in, I confess that I still visit the oven door quite often. I think that all bakers are characterised by the excitement we feel for our product.
2. As a participant and winner in the III National Artisan Bakery Championship, how did you find the experience?
Mainly, I consider it was a very enriching experience in all respects. And also very motivating in terms of excellence and self-improvement during the preparation, which ends up being transferred to the day-to-day work and, after the championship, this has to continue growing. Personally, it has helped me a lot to realize that professionally you can always go one step further, as a result of this championship I feel I can still improve and gain more knowledge.
3.- How did you prepare for the championship?
In our bakery workshop, whenever I could, I made some of the recipes, and in the last few months I rehearsed the entire championship.
4.- Describe to us the products you presented in the competition.
Sourdough bread, wheat and rye baguette, toasted seeds triangle, sweet cake with olive oil and sugar, Valdeón cheesy bread, Santiago Pérez Leonese palmier pastry, chestnut cream Neapolitan, two-colour croissant and an artistic piece.
They are products that represent tradition and incorporate ingredients from the province of León, as well as design and techniques that provide added quality and excellence.
5.- Did you expect to win?
I just wanted to be able to fulfil the ideas I had, with the results and times that I had been obtaining at home. I was really lucky to be able to achieve this. Winning was a great surprise, of course.
6.- What advice would you give to a baker who wants to participate in the next Championship?
Find a possible programme you are comfortable with and that meets the championship's rules and scoring requirements. Then, continuous training, a lot of discipline, sacrifice and practice.
7.- By winning the competition you have become a member of the National Artisan Bakers Team. What tasks are you carrying out as an Espiga? Are you going to enter an international championship as a representative of the national team?
Yes. As soon as the coronavirus crisis allows us, we will participate in the international UIBC Taiwan competition, which has been postponed and which we have been preparing for up until now.
8.- Apart from the Championship, what were the other highlights from last year's Intersicop?
The good organisation, the sponsors, the exhibitors and the great professionals that made it possible for us to enjoy one of the best fairs in our sector.