Sweet victory for pastry chefs

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THE whimsical designs of chefs Lau Hwei Min and Yap Kean Chuan belied the hard work that went into making three showpieces and numerous pastries in just 19 hours.

The duo, who worked together for the first time, won the silver medal in the prestigious Mondial des Arts Sucres held from Feb 3 to 6 in Paris.

They pooled their talents three showpieces made of chocolate and sugar, four chocolate entremets, 20 pieces of ice-cream cakes, 15 pairs of chocolate bonbons and chocolate confectionery, and 20 pieces of plated desserts.

Lau and Yap now say they want to move on to bigger and better things.

“I plan to master ice carving, and I wish to compete in Coupe de Monde at the next round,” said 27-year-old Yap.

Yap, who was raised in Cheras, said the most difficult aspect of the competition was to produce seven different creations within 19 hours.

Having an innate interest and passion in pastries from a young age, he decided to pursue his passion at the age of 16.

He started in a bakery shop as an apprentice and further developed his skills by pursuing a diploma in pastry and bakery from the Silver Chef Academy.

Yap then worked at Hotel Mayang where he met chef Jess Chiam, who trained and introduced him to the Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia, where he currently works.

Among some of Yap’s accolades were winning silver medals at FHM 2013’s live sugar showcase, Junior Young Chef Challenge 2013 in South Korea, FHM 2015’s sugar showpiece and chocolate display, and Asia Pastry Cup 2016.

Lau, meanwhile, won a bronze medal at the Top of Patisserie 2015 competition in Japan and a silver at the Mondial des Arts Sucres 2016 in France.

“I was ecstatic, we did not disappoint those who had faith in us. The win came as a surprise for the both of us but we are pleased,” said Lau, who hails from Kulim, Kedah of the recent win.

The 25-year-old wants to learn and master new techniques.

For Lau, baking and pastry making is not just about breads and cakes.

It is an expression of ideas she had envisioned.

“I was amazed by sugar and chocolate showpieces. I found myself in love shiny chocolate candy, layered entremet, petit gateau and decoration techniques,” she said.

“Baking is not only making breads and cakes. It is similar to art in which you can express your ideas by crafting anything you like with it.”