Twenty-one year old Holly Woodman from the Claire Clark Academy at Milton Keynes College has been crowned Young Pastry Chef of the Year.
Holly prepared a stunning menu for a stellar panel of judges comprising giants of the pastry chef world.
Her winning entry included a chocolate and pistachio soufflé with chocolate sauce and crumb, followed by tropical fruits dessert with tempered white chocolate collars, mango mousse and coconut sorbet and a selection of whole shortbread and orange shortbread petit fours.
When she was declared the winner she said, “That was completely unexpected! I’ve had a passion for baking for quite some time but have only been learning professionally for six months. "Being up against chefs who have done competitions before and work in kitchens, compared to me who works in a shop and trains two days a week, it still feels like a dream. I went in to the competition focused and gave everything I could.”
Holly’s mentor on the Patisserie Course is team leader, Andrea Ruff.
“I am so pleased for Holly; what a magnificent achievement. Right from the outset she’s showed a professional attitude way beyond her years," Andrea said.
"She maintains her own impeccable standard which makes her a very special young lady and I am so proud of her whole performance. Holly only started her course in September so what she achieved today shows what a true talent she has for patisserie. Holly has been inspired by our guest pastry chefs here at the Claire Clark Academy, and while on work experience with Claire Clark at her business, Pretty Sweet in London. Holly now has her sights set on working in a hotel patisserie section to hone her skills while studying for her next qualification here in September 2018.”
Her winning efforts have bagged Holly trips to two lavish events organised by the Master Chefs of Great Britain (who organised the competition), a visit to the world famous Koppert Cress herb nursery in Holland, a roll of Chefi knives, £250 in cash and the chance to do work experience with world famous pastry chef, Laurent Duchene, at his patisserie in Paris.
“Knowing I’ll be going to the stage with Laurent Duchene is a dream, and never would have expected to be achieving that so close to the beginning of my journey. This is just the beginning of what I hope will be a lifetime of happy cooking.”