A young Taiwanese chef savored the sweet taste of success when he finished among the top competitors in a junior pastry and confectionery making championship held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Friday.
Wei Chia-yu (魏嘉佑) grabbed 4th place in the under-25 competition, organized by the Union Internationale de la Patisserie, Confiserie et Glacerie (International Union of Pastry Cooks, Confectioners and Ice Cream Makers, UIPCG)
Wei’s top-ranked creation was a chocolate and pastry sculpture titled Warrior of Formosa, which depicted a Taiwanese Aboriginal warrior adorned with tribal chief headgear, a spear, skull and other details, all delicately sculpted with melted chocolate.
For this year’s championship, the contestants were required to produce six types of sweets — including candies and chocolate — and judged on their culinary skills as well as on hygiene and work safety.
The winner of the competition was Mirina Ueno, a 22-year-old female chef from Nagano Prefecture, Japan.
Many Brazilians at the venue won over by Wei’s sculpture asked if he was Chinese and seemed pleased when Wei and local Taiwanese expatriates clarified that they were from Taiwan, he said.
“I came a long way to Brazil to compete and was not feeling very confident, but the warm support from the Taiwanese expatriate community here really surprised me. It was very touching to have them waving the national flag to cheer me on,” said Wei, who was accompanied by his instructor, Liao Han-hsiung (廖漢雄), a teacher at the National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism.
He said in the past he had felt alienated when competing in France and other non-English speaking nations, because he could not speak their language and eating unfamiliar local food affected his performance.
“This time, although I also traveled very far, I felt very at home because the Taiwanese expatriates gave me so much support. They cooked Taiwanese dishes for me and I this helped me settle in so I could concentrate on my creation,” he added.
Taiwan will host the next competition of the under-25 UIPCG Junior World Championship, which is scheduled for 2014.