Since its creation in 2006, the Asian Pastry Cup, one of the continental qualifiers of the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, has the purpose of creating synergy between Asian pastry chefs and elevating and providing an international communication platform to promote the pastry craft and art in Asia.
Vincent Bourdin, its founder and director, takes stock of the history and evolution of this consolidated and renowned competition:
Vincent Bourdin: “The story of a passion and the drive to higlight Asia’s pastry chefs”
Today, as an internationally recognized event, the Asian Pastry Cup continues to ignite enthusiasm and friendship at the highest level for the benefits of both pastry chefs and pastry.
But I couldn’t write about the Asian Pastry Cup without paying deep respect to Gabriel Paillasson, the great architect of the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie. Without Gabriel’s vision and the first partnership with Valrhona, nothing would have been possible.
It all began when I came to settle down in Singapore in 1996, after a few years with Valrhona at The World Pastry Cup in Lyon. Along with my colleagues at the time, Pierre Tabarie, the Singapore Chefs Association, and other visionary chefs, we started to look at how we could unite all our efforts to create a Club to gather all Asian teams who were aspiring to compete at the World Pastry Cup.
“With my colleagues at the time, Pierre Tabarie, the Singapore Chefs Association, and other visionary chefs, we started to look at how we could unite all our efforts to create a Club to gather all Asian teams who were aspiring to compete at the World Pastry Cup”
Japan already had its own club, the Club Coupe du Monde Japon, which remains to date the only CDM selection platform for Japan.
After quite some time together with the Singapore Pastry Alliance, I started an “informal club”, the Singapour Pastry Cup Club, which for legal reasons was later formally registered as the Asian Pastry Cup.
Carrying out this activity with all the local chefs and institutions, in 2006 we started to plan for our first edition. After months, Food-Hotel-Asia in Singapore offered the space to organize the first edition of the Asian Pastry Cup.
Seven countries participated, Australia – Philippines and Sri-Lanka, even Macao which is now competing under the team China umbrella, India would join us in 2008, and of course as neighboring nations Indonesia and Malaysia competed side by side with Singapore. In fact, it is interesting to point out that Singapore was among the first countries to participate in the first World Pastry Cup in 1989. Iit is to date one of the handful nations that have participated in all the Coupe de Monde de la Patisserie since 1989.
Angela May was our First Master of ceremony, setting the glamourous tone of the APC, and since then she has become the almost unique English voice at the World Pastry Cup and Bocuse d’Or. She is now part of the Asian Pastry Cup identity, thank you so much Angela.
Since 2006, we’ve adjusted to different challenges and improved the format. Other competitions joined the Asian Pastry Cup arena, such as the Bocuse d’Or Asia in 2016, the Asian Selection for Valrhona Chocolate Chef Competition C3 in 2018, before planning for a very large 2020 Asian Pastry Week which had to be canceled 45 days before it started.
“Since 2006, we’ve adjusted to different challenges and improved the format. Other competitions joined the Asian Pastry Cup arena, such as the Bocuse d’Or Asia in 2016”
This year in 2022, I have managed to call for a “revival Edition” and the Asian Gelato Cup, a natural extension to the Asian Pastry Cup, joined us for a greater pastry party.
For each edition, I have also always tried to add a new perspective and open new avenues. At first it was the Global Star chefs Pastry Show, a show that gathers six celebrity pastry chefs, “over awarded” to be able to compete at any competition but to whom I have asked to participate at large multi-chef shows just for the pleasure to gather top chefs, pastry enthusiasts, and culinary students in Singapore and beyond.
As such, this entire week of different pastry events has become the Singapore Asian Pastry Week, an entire week which is set up to promote Art of Pastry and to highlight our passion for this unique profession.
“This year in 2022, I have managed to call for a “revival Edition” and the Asian Gelato Cup, a natural extension to the Asian Pastry Cup, joined us for a greater pastry party”
Historically, Japan was the first Asian country to start to be very interested in French and European pastry. In the 1980s, it was the first country where all the pastry chefs had to go if they wanted to be recognized in the international scene of pastry chefs. Yet from my first years in Asia, I have always believed that at some point it will also be the turn of other Asian pastry chefs to emerge as a very strong team too, and that one day, chefs from other countries will become good enough to shine at a global stage alongside Japan. Well, time proved me right when in 2018, Team Malaysia won the APC first before going to win the World Pastry Cup in 2019.
A new chapter of international pastry was open, and today as we finish the “2022 Revival edition of the APC” we’ve seen that overall standards keep rising. Once again, team Malaysia won the APC, but South Korea was the first runner-up while the team representing Chinese-Taipei was on the podium too, and in Lyon, Asia will be represented by six nations under the new Presidency of the globally recognized chef, Pierre Hermé.
2024 will be the 10th edition of the Asian Pastry Cup and together with all the parties involved, we are working to make the next edition an even better and nicer one.
“Japan was the first Asian country to start to be very interested in French and European pastry… I have always believed that at some point it will also be the turn for other Asian Pastry chefs to emerge as very strong team too… time proved me right when in 2018 Team Malaysia won the APC first before going to win the World Pastry Cup in 2019 ”
But I could not stop this description of the Asian Pastry Cup without expressing my gratitude to all our sponsors, the main ones of course Cap Fruit and Valrhona, but also to all of those ingredient or equipment suppliers such as all the Italian brands that compose our kitchens booths, Carpigiani, Irinox, Unox. The list is long but their support is essential to the sustainability of our enterprise.
As the saying goes: It takes two to tango, so for all these pastry events, it also helps to build mutual respect and partnerships between brands, pastry chefs, and all kinds of media which remain for me the only avenue for great success.