In this ambitious championship organised by CEEAP, contestants who score 80% or more will be awarded the Best Master Artisan of Spain title.
One of the major competitions at InterSICOP, the Fair organised by IFEMA MADRID from 19th to 22nd February, is the Best Master Artisan Pastry Chef of Spain (MMAPE), organised by the Spanish Pastry Business Confederation (CEEAP).
This edition includes two critical changes. Firstly, it has dropped the mandatory topic. And second, the cream millefeuille is replaced by a traditional Spanish pastry speciality such as the fried or baked doughnut, including modernised versions as long as they keep the characteristic hole-in-the-middle shape.
At the previous edition, there were no winners, so this year only those who score 80% or more of the total points will win the title and become MMAPE. The participants will be assessed by a jury of renowned professionals: Carles Mampel, Eric Ortuño, Toni Viñas, Manu Jara, Javier Guillén and Oriol Balaguer. The championship’s curators will be led by Fátima Gismero, with Ester Roelas, Saray Ruiz, Cristina Puig, Lucila Canero, Cristina García, Mónica Marco and Ester Aibar. These chefs will help the jury assess the candidates based on parameters such as hygiene, timekeeping, orderliness and organisation within each box, and skill and ability at work.
These are the contenders for the title of Best Master Artisan Pastry Chef of Spain:
- Alberto Izquierdo (Madrid)
He is used to the fast pace and demands of championships. He is well-known for his almost twenty years as pastry chef of the century-old Duquesita (before the Oriol Balaguer took over). He participated in the MMAPE in 2007, coming fourth, and in 2019. Now, he is back again, hoping to boost the profession’s status.
- Alexis García (100% Pan-Pastelería, Santa Cruz de Tenerife)
He runs 100×100 Pan y Pastelería (100% Bread & Pastry) in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which promotes quality, good flours and doughs. What motivates Alexis García to compete for the MMAPE is his eagerness to do better, day by day. “Every year, I set myself a greater and greater challenge, and one of the dreams I’ve yet to fulfil is to be proclaimed best pastry chef of Spain.”
- Angelica Locantore (Panem, Madrid)
This Venezuelan pastry chef trained at Hofmann and with several other leading chefs. During her career she has worked at El Celler de Can Roca, and Marijn Coertjens in Ghent, in Belgium. She currently works as a pastry chef at Panem. At this edition of MMAPE, we’re sure she will keep to her premise of disciplined work and attention to detail to make more than just a cake, by combining her pastry-making skills with science and nutrition.
- Hans Ovando (Be Chef Pastry School, Barcelona)
Winner of the 2008 Lluís Santapau Trophy and the Spanish Chocolate Master in 2013, this Chilean chef shows the great future he has ahead of him at every step of the way. He currently provides training services at his Be Chef Pastry School and acts as a consultant worldwide. “I’ve always openly shared the idea that championships help you grow professionally, but I believe that the MMAPE is the championship that marks a before and after in your professional career as a pastry chef,” he says.
- José Alba Martínez (La Curra, Torrent, Valencia)
He is the fifth generation at the century-old restaurant La Curra, and he has trained in the field of cooking and research. In 2013 he set himself the goal of learning pastry-making and improving the family business. In 2014, after taking a course at the Torreblanca School and working in the summer with Frédéric Cassel in Fointanebleau, France, he opened La Curra Dolç, La Curra’s pastry bakery. His motivation for participating in the MMAPE is the event’s philosophy: “it’s a professional competition with clear objectives: to promote the figure of the pastry chef and his profession, as well as contributing this trade’s values to wider society.”
- Julio López (Pastelería Mindanao, Madrid)
Co-owner of Pastelería Mindanao, he has taken courses with prominent chefs such as Yann Duytsche and Paco Torreblanca. Throughout his career, he has received distinctions in different competitions: First position in the 13th Madrid Region pastry contest in the best buffet category, second prize in the artistic figure and cake category, third position in the International Contest of Recipes with Chocolate (Ovidos, Portugal) in 2006, and third in the Trophy Lluís Santapau 2019, among others. He currently combines his management of Mindanao with teaching at the Newman Institute. The MMAPE is yet another challenge for this pastry chef.
- Julio Morón Rivera (Hotel Casa Palacio Maria Luisa, Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz)
He has a degree in Kitchen Management from the Escuela Profesional de Hostelería (Professional Hotel Management School) in Jerez. He has taken pastry courses at the Escuela Torreblanca and Bellouet Conseil. Morón, who came fourth in the 2003 MMAPE, has extensive experience as a teacher and has given lectures on caramel, sugar and pastillage, mousses and cakes. Since 2019, he has been working at the T22 restaurant of the Five-star GL Hotel Casa Palacio Maria Luisa. In 2022, he returns to MMAPE with ambition and enthusiasm.
- Marcos Díaz Jiménez (Pastisseria Rossana, Calafell, Tarragona)
The second generation of a family of pastry chefs, he was born surrounded by mixers, moulds and rollers, so it was clear to him from an early age what his vocation was. Trained at the Pastry School of the Guild of Barcelona (EPGB), he is entering the MMAPE as an example of self-improvement. “I’d like to be able to dedicate my win to my father, a veteran pastry chef, and to my profession, to nurture it and motivate more young people to join it, body and soul. I already feel like a winner with this career behind me because, like in an Ironman triathlon, winning isn’t just about crossing the finish line, but how you prepare and your dedication during training.”
- Mariona Fidalgo (Jordi Bordas Training Centre, Viladecans, Barcelona)
Mariona Fidalgo began her career studying pastry, bakery and confectionery at the Hotel and Tourism School in Girona and doing apprenticeships in the Sweets by Abraham Balaguer pastry bakery and the Chocolate Academy in Vic. Her restlessness and desire to learn led her to complete her training with renowned chefs such as Miquel Guarro and Enric Rovira and participate in the chocolate figures competition run by the Barcelona Chocolate Museum, where she came second twice. In 2016 she joined Jordi Bordas’ team, beginning a new learning process. For years she has been passionate about the competitions circuit, but none of them motivated her to enter “because I wanted to prove myself without being distracted by the other contestants, and, finally, when they overhauled the MMAPE format, I knew I had to sign up.”
- Toni Rodríguez (Toni Rodríguez Academy, Barcelona)
After becoming a vegetarian in 2003, he began researching how to create a pastry with no dairy, eggs or gelatine. In 2005 he opened his own bakery, Lujuria Vegana, where he marketed single-servings, entremets, cupcakes, macaroons and biscuits throughout Spain and Europe. In 2018 he opened the Toni Rodriguez Academy to help professionals develop their own vegan pastries. Rodriguez has been following MMAPE for many years, “but I never thought that one day I’d dare to enter myself. I attended the last edition in 2019 and loved the new system and the great professionals on the jury. I’m very motivated to do a great job presenting vegan preparations.”