Sun, Mar 14, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Taiwanese baker wins industry’s top prize in Paris

MASTER BAKER The Pingtung native said he was given the assignment of baking bread using olives and olive oil, two ingredients he was unfamiliar with

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wu Pao-chun (吳寶春), the Taiwanese baker who did Taiwan proud by winning the title of Bakery Master in the bread category of this year’s Bakery World Cup in Paris on Wednesday, said yesterday he would work to “keep Taiwan’s name shining.”

“I’ll work with the National Kaohsiung Hospitality College to create courses to train the next Bakery Masters,” he said. “I don’t want to be the only person with this honor in Taiwan. I want the world to know that bakers from Taiwan are capable of winning this title every year.”

Wu made the remarks at a press conference in Taipei yesterday after his return from France on Friday night.

“The first thing I had in mind when they announced that I was the winner was to tell my mother, who is in heaven: ‘I did not let you down,’” the 39-year-old said.

Wu said that when he felt stressed and nervous before and during the competition, he thought of his mother, and believed that she would give him strength.

Wu considers his mother the most important person in his life because she raised him, his brothers and sisters by herself after his father passed away when he was 12.

“I learned a lot from my mother. No matter how hard life was, she always worked and never gave up,” said Wu, a Pingtung native. “She was illiterate, and didn’t have many dreams. Her only wish was that all her children could grow up and achieve something.”

In fact, Wu’s family was so poor, he had to stop going to school after graduating from junior high.

But he did not give up.

“I actually never thought about becoming a baker. I just wanted to learn a skill to feed myself and my family. Baking was just something I happened to come across,” he said. “I was only 17 and was too young to think about the future.”

Following the example of his mother, Wu worked hard.

He paid attention to every detail and tried to learn as much about every ingredient as possible — an attitude that helped him to succeed.

“One of the tests at the competition was to randomly pick some materials and make bread out of whatever you got. I got olives and olive oil — both are ingredients I wasn’t familiar with,” he said. “But since I have the habit of reading about all ingredients, I was able to make bread with those items, and it actually tasted good.”

Finally, Wu defeated 23 other rivals from 17 countries to win the title Bakery Master.

Although the first Bakery World Cup took place in 1992, this is the first year a separate competition for individual bakers has been held.

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