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“To win this contest, the most important thing is to have a good team behind you”

This young pastry chef, who currently works at the Cremela ice cream and chocolate company, about how he prepared himself to tackle the 2nd National Student Pastry Chef Championship, his future plans and his assessment of InterSICOP.

17 Feb 2020

Faustino Fernández, winner of the 2nd National Student Pastry Chef Championship

Faustino Fernández from Asturias, a student of the Asturian Pastry and Bakery Technical Institute of the Confectioners Guild of the Principality of Asturias (ITEPPA), won the 2nd National Student Pastry Chef Championship held on 25 and 26 February as part of InterSICOP 2019. This event, organised by the Spanish Confederation of Pastry Craft Businessmen (CEEAP), showcases training as the best guarantee for the evolution of the confectionery trade and its future.

1.-  When and why did you decide to study to be a pastry chef?​

At the end of my cooking studies two years ago, I realised that my vocation at the professional level leant more towards pastry-making, so I decided to do the ITEPPA Middle Level Course in Bakery, Pastries and Confectionery.

2.-  As a participant and winner of the 2nd National Student Pastry Chef Championship, how did you find the experience?​

On a personal level, this experience has helped make me more mature and has proved very positive. On a professional level, I’m convinced that it has helped me to grow much faster in this short time

3.- How did you prepare for the championship? ​

To prepare for the championship, we spend six months of constant hard work. With work and dedication things gradually took shape and the rewards began to appear. With a lot of help from the whole team, we produced lots of new ideas and combinations. We all had one goal: to achieve clearly recognisable, fresh flavours.

4.- Did you have the support of your school, ITEPPA, in your preparation?​

I had the support of the school, my teachers and my assistant in the contest at all times. I’m sure that without their help, none of this would have been possible.

Luckily, I’ve enjoyed the privilege of studying at ITEPPA and I’ll be eternally grateful for the opportunity and training they gave me.

5.- Describe to us the preparations that you presented in the contest

We had to present three preparations. The first was a choux pastry with cinnamon craquelin with a rice pudding mousse, apricot, passion fruit and ginger filling on a cocoa and chia seed shortbread base and decorated with an apricot brochette, lemon thyme and a yogurt siphon sponge cake. The second was a strudel consisting of a caramelised butter puff pastry, filled with a striped hazelnut mousse with salt and a passion fruit-whipped ganache, decorated with specks of whipped ganache, a gianduja curl, caramelised hazelnut and topped with a pansy. Finally, the third preparation was a cake that had a chocolate crunch, pear jelly, hazelnut cream, pear cappuccino and rooibos chocolate mousse, finished with a glossy milk glaze and a pear-shaped 3D chocolate decoration, surrounded by a cupcake.

6.- Did you expect to win?​

It’s true that deep down I thought about reaching the top, but I think the important thing was to present my work as professionally as possible, something we discuss a lot at the school. Even if you don't win, both personal satisfaction and the recognition of other professionals can be as important as winning.

7.- What advice would you give to a student who wants to take participate next Championship?​

Plenty of dedication and effort, I think these are the words that sum everything up. I also think you need to have a very methodical approach to your work. Having said that, without a doubt, the most important thing is to have a good team behind you.

8.- Do you think training is essential to achieve success in this profession?​

Training is essential, not only in this profession, but also in other trades, as is renewing yourself every day.

9.- What are your future plans?​

For the moment I’ll continue working in the company I’m in, which works with ice cream and chocolate. As for the future, I might like to devote myself to training future chefs.

10.- Apart from the Championship, what were the other highlights from this year's ​InterSICOP?

As a student, it was a great chance to meet other professionals and discover different companies working in the sector. I loved all the demonstrations at the fair. For me it’s now an essential event every two years.