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National Selections : Belgium :



Pol Deschepper wins the Belgian Chocolate Master selection

Sébastien Courlit gets the Chocolate Creativity Award

On 10th and 11th April, 11 highly qualified chocolate professionals have competed in front of an extensive group of technical and taste judges, for the honourable titles of “Belgian Chocolate Master 2005” and the “Belgian Chocolate Creativity Award 2005”. After a thrilling contest, Pol Deschepper won the ticket to the finals and the title of Belgian Chocolate Master 2005. Sébastien Courlit was selected as the most creative contest, earning the “Belgian Chocolate Creativity Award 2005”. The selection took place at Brussels Expo during the Chocoa fair.

The very interesting prize package that was at stake (see “Awards & Prizes”), motivated all of them even further to give the best of themselves in the pralines, cakes and showpieces that they presented. As a result, the jury was treated with some very innovating and tasteful creations.

All of the creations that the contestants presented at the contest, were judged from a technical point of view, and on their taste. The technical judges were Gunther Van Essche of Patisserie Del Rey in Antwerp, Johny De Neef, representing the Belgian Pastry Academy, Herman Van Dender of Patisserie Van Dender in Schaarbeek, Serge Alexandre of Patisserie Defreyne in Strombeek and Callebaut Ambassador and Philippe Vancayseele, technical advisor of Barry Callebaut. The president of the jury was Marc Debailleul, the Prévot of the Confectioners and Pastry Chefs of the Gastronomic Club Prosper Montagné. These technical judges focused on the contestants’ professionalism, what their creations looked like (finishing, aspect etc), their way of working with the Mystery Box ingredients and the showpieces that were exhibited and presented to them.

On the whole, the level of the contestants at the Belgian selection was remarkably high. Some of the contestants however, stood out even further in one or more disciplines. Pol Deschepper was the overall winner, and very strong on the technical side. His showpiece represented the two most important elements in his life, a woman and a horse, represented in a surreal way and using a broad range of different techniques. Sébastien Courlit’s “The spirit of Dali” represented the big artist with a hypnotising look, colourful flowers and pieces of the surreal puzzle. Frederic Simon of Chocolaterie Darcis referred to Magritte with his “Cause du Renvoi”, a fragile female silhouette with an apple-shaped head.

The taste jury for the chocolate cakes comprised Louis Briffaerts of Patisserie Wittamer in Brussels, Marc Ducobu of Patisserie Ducobu and Callebaut Ambassador, Axel Sachem of Patisserie Mont Royal and Callebaut Ambassador, Gwen Geiregat, an award winning Kitchen Chef, Felix Alen of Hof Ter Rhode, television cook and author of many books, Robrecht Wolters, freelance cook, food styling and Callebaut Ambassador, Lucienne Schepmans Chief Editor of “Pain & Pâtisserie” and Joris Vanhee, confectioner and Callebaut Ambassador. David Maillet of Patisserie Mahieu presented his “Douceur”. This delicious entremet was composed of 2 layers of cocoa biscuit, chocolate mousse and milk rice, with a perfume of raspberry, milk marmalade and crushed pecan nuts. Pascal Thomas created another favourite cake. His “L’Agriotta” contained a mousse of Santo Domingo chocolate, a pistachio cream, griottes with Amaretto and a chocolate crumble.

Taste judges for the pralines were Kris Dooms, Confectioner and President of Fenaco, Frank Verhue, Chief Editor of “Chocolaterie & Confisserie”, Bart Van Cauwenberghe of Chocolaterie “De Zwarte Vos”, Karel De Wolf of Restaurant “De Snip” in Waasmunster and President of the Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe, Geert Decoster of Centho Chocolates in Tervuren, Dominique Persoone of “The Chocolate Line” in Bruges, Luc Van Hoorbeke of Chocolaterie Van Hoorebeke in Ghent, Laurent Van De Vijver of Hotel Beau Séjour and Member of the Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe and Jean-Pierre Wybauw, Technical Advisor of Barry Callebaut..

The contestants presented to them 3 types of pralines, namely one commercial praline, one extremely creative praline and the Mystery praline that they had to create in place.

Favourite commercial pralines were Pol Deschepper’s “Suraz” with a white ganache on a crispy base with Java milk chocolate, “Dome Oriona” by Sébastien Courlit with a crusty praliné, Costa Rica coffee ganache and orange caramel with chocolate and last but not least Frederic Simon’s “Rondeurs essentielles”, a duo of ganaches with caramel and Tonka beans and one with lemon.

The contestants proved that pralines can be very innovative and creative as well. Julien Wulleman of Patisserie Mont Royal presented “Belle Endormie”, with a passion fruit ganache and Tchai tea. Courlit created “Cubis strus”, containing a green tea ganache, raspberry paste and lime ganache. Mailliet showed his “Salvadore”, with a milk chocolate ganache with a lemon and orange perfume and crispy praliné with ginger bread.

On the practical test with the Mystery Box, all contestants impressed the jury. Within 2 hours they created quite some original and tasteful pralines. – à l’improviste, as they did not have any idea what ingredients or equipment they would receive to make their praline.

As said by the different speakers at the proclamation, like Benoit Villers, Gourmet Business Unit President of Barry Callebaut, Philippe Janvier, Gourmet Business Unit Vice President of Barry Callebaut and Marc Debailleul, the Belgian confectioners are keeping their name high, which is very promising for the (chocolate) future of the country. By participating in this contest and keeping on questioning oneself, this great result can be obtained.

We wish Pol Deschepper all the best of luck with his participation in the finals!

With special thanks to the logistic sponsors of the World Chocolate Masters Irinox (fridges, freezers, blast freezers), Kitchen Aid (stand mixers) and Mol d'Art (tempering machines).

Some results

Final RankingCreativity Award
1. Pol Deschepper 1. Sébastien Courlit
2. Sébastien Courlit 2. Pol Deschepper
3. David Mailliet 3. Yasushi Sasaki
4. Yasushi Sasaki 4. Frédéric Simon
5. Pascal Thomas 5. David Mailliet

The winning creations
A. ShowpieceB. Commercial praline
1. Pol Deschepper 1. Pol Deschepper
2. Sébastien Courlit 1. Sébastien Courlit
3. Frédéric Simon 3. Yasushi Sasaki
C. Creative praline D. Pastry
1. Sébastien Courlit 1. David Mailliet
1. Julien Wulleman 2. Pascal Thomas
3. David Mailliet 3. Frédéric Simon
E. Mystery Praline
1. Pol Deschepper
2. Philippe Lafont
3. Yasushi Sasaki

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