As I write this, I can imagine them exhausted from juggling their duties as kitchen crew of the Makati Shangri-La with competition requirements. They must be panic packing and worried that they might forget an important utensil or ingredient. But I bet they’re also very excited and grateful for the experience of a lifetime that awaits them.
In a few days, Bryan Dimayuga, Rizalino Mañas and Vicente Cahatol will fly to Lyon, France to represent the Philippines in the most prestigious competition that gathers the global elite in pastrymaking. Started in 1989, the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie is staged every other year and for the first time ever, the Philippines qualified for a slot. The honor was earned by Bryan and Rizalino at the Asian Pastry Cup in Singapore, an elimination round of sorts held within the Food and Hotel Asia 2014. At the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, team Philippines will be up against 21 others from around the world.
Assembled by the Pastry Alliance of the Philippines, the trio must create 3 entremets, 3 ice cream cakes, 12 plated desserts, 1 sugar showpiece, 1 chocolate showpiece, 1 ice carving and 1 chocolate carving from a block. All within 10 hours, under the strict watch of judges comprised of the pastry industry’s best of the best. Not easy at all. Especially since they will be working in a space that they’ll be seeing for the first time. I just hope they shake off the jetlag, adapt to the freezing weather right away, get some decent sleep and eat well before D-day on January 25. And that they’ll all stay calm and focused.
I missed the team’s final practice session over the weekend, a simulation of the 10-hour competition. So I failed to see what they’re preparing for Lyon (we’re not allowed to release photos). But I had the opportunity to chat with them one afternoon. And from the conversation, I knew that despite not having the government support and sophisticated technology of other countries, the Philippines is going to be represented by men of passion and perseverance. Pinoys to be truly proud of!
Bryan Dimayuga is a 24-year-old Hotel and Restaurant Management graduate of Lyceum Batangas. “Gusto ko po kasi talaga Industrial Engineering kaso hindi kaya ng budget so doon na lang ako sa HRM,” he related his beginnings. This Batangueno is a veteran of local competitions. He has been in the circuit since his college days. He has gold medals from the plated desserts category of the National Food Showdown 2012, from the Wedding Cake Display of the Philippine Culinary Cup 2012 and from the Wedding Cake Display of the Hong Kong International Culinary Classic 2011. “Nagco-compete ako kasi gusto kong i-explore yung pastry, kung anong meron dito at kung hanggang saan yung kaya ko,” he explained. “Marami na ring beses akong natalo, pag natalo, mga isang linggong tahimik, nakasimangot,” he admits. But he never thought of quitting. “Hilig ko ‘to. Kailangang mahalin mo. Kasi yung iba sasabihin, ay pagod na ako, ay dagdag oras, nagtatrabaho ka na magpa-practice ka pa. Pero pag gusto mo ang ginagawa mo kahit dire-diretso, okay lang kasi masaya ka eh. Kailangan lang talaga tiyaga”.
Rizalino Mañas who we all call “Potpot” is a 2007 Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management graduate of De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde. “First love ko talaga is hot kitchen pero nung nalipat ako sa pastry nagustuhan ko rin, mas artistic, mas na-express mo sarili mo,” he said. Potpot has also made the rounds of competitions and has a gold under his toque from the Chocolate Showpiece category of the National Food Showdown 2011. He was also the overall winner in the 1st Intercollegiate Cake Decorating Challenge of Goldilocks. “Comfort zone na dito sa Pilipinas. Pagdating mo sa international, makikita mo na meron ka pa palang kailangan i-improve. Hindi ka dapat magsa-stop”. He is appreciative of the exposure and considers it a huge privilege to be now interacting with stalwarts only previously accessible to him via television. He paints and is quite resourceful in searching for inspiration for his creations. “Puede ka tumingin sa ibang medium like metal, glass. Umikot ka sa bookstores, sa hardware, para makita mo lahat ng puede mong gamitin na materials para sa mold. Kailangan gumawa ka ng paraan,” he pointed out.
Kitchen artist Vicente Cahatol is the last addition to the team. But even before he became officially a member, he was already lending a hand to Bryan and Potpot, assisting them in producing their showpiece models when they competed for the Asian Pastry Cup. “Gusto ko sila manalo kaya nung humingi ng tulong, binigay ko kung ano ang maitutulong ko, pag di nila nagustuhan, tapon, marami kaming ginawang sample pero okay lang, gusto ko lang talaga sila manalo,” he recalled. Now he is no longer just a friend helping behind the scenes. “Pangarap ko talaga ito,” he declared. He hails from Paete, Laguna. He won his first ice carving competition at the age of 17. “Nag-practice ako sa sabon, hindi pa ako nakahawak ng yelo. Siguro mga 100 times kong ginawa. Noong una, two days ko bago natapos, hanggang sa bumilis nang bumilis. Nung dumating sa competition, one hour lang natapos ko at ako ang nag-champion,” he beamed. I do not have enough space to list down all his achievements but at 36 years old, he definitely has gone a long way.
There is a contest among the participating countries for the best poster. You can vote for the entry of the Philippines by following these steps: 1) Go to http://apps.mappsi.com/applink/141379712988061334 2) You will see vote and win-photo voting prompt, click OKAY. 3) You will see LIKE to participate, click ENTER. 4) Input first name, last name, country of residence, email address and check the box that warns you can vote just once. CONTINUE. 5) Click VOTE and look for PHILIPPINES. VOTE PHILIPPINES. 6) Then click SHARE to help them earn more votes
The Pastry Alliance of the Philippines’ Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie bid is supported by Kitchen Aid, Peotraco, Gourdo’s, WOFEX Philippines, Makati Shangri-La, Le Jeunes chefs LPU, UNICOMM, San Miguel Great Food Solutions, PCSO, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Les Toques Blanches Philippines, FCCC, De La Salle-Benilde, Top Chef Enterprises, Magnolia, ESV International Corp, and Ferna.
For more information or to wish our team good luck, you may visit the Facebook page of the Pastry Alliance of the Philippines, https://www.facebook.com/?q=#/pages/PAP-Pastry-Alliance-of-the-Philippines/121088094569829?ref=br_tf