Another four candidates have been selected by jury members to proceed to the finals of the 2017 Patissier and Chef of the Year competitions: The young talents Stephan Haupt, André Siebertz, Joël Ellenberger and Daniele Tortomasi have made it through to the final round at Anuga 2017 in Cologne on 9 October. Each of the participants survived a thrilling preliminary round that wasn’t without its challenges!

The procedure of “Chef of the year”

Well before the competition, juror Cornelius Speinle already provided for a good deal of professional nerves among the up-and-coming patissiers by setting the contestants the task of creating a dessert with three compulsory ingredients – sake, sorrel and buttermilk. And on 2 April, it was finally time to overcome this and other challenges. From 8 o’clock in the morning, five participants and their assistants battled it out for Hennef’s dessert crown, using a well-equipped kitchen in the sacred ambience of the old abbey church.

The contestants had five hours to create the following mandatory elements set by the jury: six portions each of a freestyle dessert and the dessert mentioned above containing three compulsory ingredients, plus 15 freestyle chocolates or petits fours.

After each team ended up with just 15 minutes to prepare three lots of six plates for the jury, the pressure finally began to ease at 1 o’clock. The jurors at the table were no strangers to the sector: Most notably they included Pierre Lingelser, an icon among patissiers who is in charge of sweets at the renowned Schwarzwaldstube restaurant at the Traube Tonbach hotel in Baiersbronn. The jurors included other patissiers from Michelin-starred establishments, such as Matthias Spurk (GästeHaus Klaus Erfort***, Saarbrücken) and Alejandro Wilbrand from the Restaurant Zur Post* in Odenthal.

The decision

After tasting the dishes, the jury members reached an agreement and selected Stephan Haupt from Heidelberg’s Scharff’s Schlossweinstube* and André Siebertz from Hotel Clostermanns Hof from Niederkassel Uckendorf  as the winners of the 3rd semi-final of “Patissier of the Year 2017”.

Stephan Haupt impressed the judges with a dish that combined Jerusalem artichoke, rhubarb, malt and burnt cream (freestyle dessert), while he added Nashi pear to the three mandatory ingredients of the other dessert. He dubbed his freestyle chocolates “Heidelberg Cheesecake”.

André Siebertz’ chocolates were called “Sweet Röggelchen”, while his popular freestyle dessert contained sunflower seeds, Jerusalem artichoke, chamomile, mango and chocolate. He decided to add cucumber and pear to the dessert of sorrel, sake and buttermilk.

The audience award, however, went to another talented young patissier: Claudius Herbst, who was assisted by Max-Henry Müller. The duo from Leipzig created a tantalisingly tasty chocolate called “AsiaRAMA”, consisting of matcha, jasmine and Sichuan pepper.

“Today I’ve met six teams of chefs who are full of passion for their profession” (Paolo Casagrande)

The next day, a total of six candidates from Germany, Austria and Switzerland also had just five hours in the semi-final of “Chef of the Year” 2017. They were tasked with presenting a 3-course competition menu that had to cut the mustard despite using ingredients worth no more than 16 euros it total.

By setting this challenge, the jury underlined a trend described by Michelin-starred chef and jury member Paolo Casagrande: “Haut cuisine is becoming more and more specialised; think of lactose-free menus, vegetarian and vegan dishes. Secondly, award-winning cuisine is appealing more and more to younger guests, it is becoming increasingly casual, and on the other hand it’s also adapting to people with less money in their wallet.”

Hennef’s most harmonious menu creation came from Joël Ellenberger from Switzerland (Winterthur), who was supported by Janik Schöfer. Aged just 23, the demichef de partie wowed judges with his starter containing different takes on Jerusalem artichoke. For the main he served a duet of squab, while his dessert was a creation including Manjari dark chocolate, bitter orange, yuzu sorbet, limoncello, oats, pine nut nougatine, bergamot orange, kaffir-anglaise and preserved lemon.

Second place went to Daniele Tortomasi (Schwarzwaldstube*** restaurant at the Traube Tonbach hotel, Baiersbronn), who was assisted by Yann Bosshammer and already had some competitive experience: He once made it to the semi-finals of the TV programme “The Taste”. He impressed the top chefs on the jury, including the likes of Julia Sedefjian, Stefan Lenz and Sebastian Frank, with his starter of halibut, a main of beef entrecote in a salt crust with poppy and moss, celeriac and textured potato in a juniper jus and beef marrow, plus a dessert of cucumber, aloe vera, basil and olive oil.

Other prices and events

The competition sponsors awarded four more special prizes to Hennef’s semi-final contestants for exceptional performances, meaning that (almost) nobody went home empty-handed.

The chefs and industry professionals in the audience weren’t just treated to two days of live competitions. This trendsetting event for the sweet and savoury arts involved an events programme packed with other highlights, including live performances by top international chefs, workshops and a specially organised market with stands for visitors to taste dishes and find out more.

The next – and last – semi-final of Patissier and Chef of the Year 2017 will take place on 12 June in Hamburg. Participants will once again compete for a place in the final at Anuga in October. The closing date for applications from cooks who think they’ve got what it takes is 12 April.