Two people wearing chef outfits work on a dessert.

It was a little taste of Paris at Humber’s North Campus as students in the Baking and Pastry Arts Management program competed in this year’s Humber Pastry Cup.

The third annual event, sponsored by Kraft Heinz, was dubbed the Paris edition. Instead of competing as individuals as they had in previous years, students entered in teams of two with the hopes of being crowned the champion. The 10 teams had to create desserts in three categories: pastries with coffee or tea, an entremet and petit gateaux (essentially, small cakes) and confectionary edible art. The dishes had to incorporate a Kraft Heinz product in them.

Kenneth Ku, a professor with the Baking and Pastry Arts Management program, said the Pastry Cup is a great opportunity for students to embrace their creative side. They selected Paris as a theme to fuel the students’ creativity and hoped the wonder of the city and its seminal food scene would further inspire them.

Ku said the Pastry Cup is often a springboard to other opportunities and that several of their first-year students taking part are planning on moving on to the Skills competition next year. He added that having the Pastry Cup is a great extracurricular for the students to show what they’ve learned in the classroom and to present their creations to judges who are all industry professionals.

‘It feels great’

Amna Sadia and Harneet Kaur, both of whom are first-year students, finished first. They were thrilled and a little overwhelmed when their names were called as the winners.

“It’s really unexpected but it feels great,” said Kaur. “We’re both new to competitions like this but it was a really great experience for us.”

Sadia added they were really pleased with how their mousse crepe cake with Kool-Aid turned out.  

“We developed mousse recipes with Kool-Aid, encountering numerous failures along the way, until achieving the ideal flavor and texture,” said Sadia.

The judges included Tomasz Hoekstra, master baker and technical advisor with IREKS North America, Kelly Amaral, distribution sales representative with Dawn Food Products, Alon Chitiz, corporate chef with Kraft Heinz Canada, and Leonhard Lechner, a certified master chef and Humber professor.  

As the judges tasted the dishes, they often remarked how impressed they were with what they were sampling. Comments such as “phenomenal,” “beautiful plating,” and “great flavours” were frequently expressed by the judges.

Students impress with their creativity

Chitiz was thoroughly wowed with what the students presented, saying he was blown away by their creativity and skills. Chitiz said the competition was an excellent opportunity for the students to take the lead and come up with their own culinary ideas before sharing them for feedback from those working in the industry.

“I think it’s great they have this outlet to take what they’ve learned at Humber – all the techniques and concepts – to make something that’s their own. They’re expressing themselves and showcasing their talent, which I think is wonderful,” said Chitiz, adding he had a fantastic time and would be a judge again in a heartbeat.

The team of Pik Ki Kwok and Hei Ming Pong finished second while Tina Chan and Lihini Himara finished third.

Adding some additional excitement to the competition is that it was filmed as a reality television-style baking program complete with background music and a studio audience. It was a collaboration between Humber's Baking and Pastry Arts Management program and the Broadcast Television/Videography (BRTV) program.

The television show and live stream were produced by BRTV students. The BRTV students worked with their Baking and Pastry Arts Management peers for weeks ahead of the competition to prepare contestant profiles and other production elements.

Emma Conrad-Morrison and Maggie Marinaccio, who are best friends, entered the competition as a team. Although they didn’t win, they had a tremendous experience and said it was a fun way to end their time at Humber as both are set to graduate.

“Baking and Pastry Arts Management is such an amazing program,” said Conrad-Morrison.

Marinaccio added that their instructors were phenomenal, and she learned a lot in the program which has her feeling very confident about her future.

The winners received $1,200 for first place, $800 for second and $500 for third.