Alistair Birt is ready for World Chocolate Masters
World Chocolate Masters competition is close. We have been curious what was going on with Alistair Birt, the UK & Ireland contestant for the World Chocolate Masters.
How has it been since you won the UK and Irish preselection?
When I entered the national competition I didn’t really think about the final in Paris, it’s only after I was announced the winner and people said “good luck for the final” I thought “Oh, I actually have to compete against some really good experienced chefs in front of a lot of people”. So I think that fear has pushed me. It’s been a long road since February and I changed my ideas a lot but in the last couple of months it has all come together, and now I just want to go and do it.
What were you working on?
I was working on improving and in most cases redesigning my products for the final. What got me through the national competition will not be enough for Paris. I had to up my game, considerably. Plus anyone who has done these kind of competitions can tell you there is a lot more to organise than just getting the perfect recipe.
Was there somebody helping you in your preparations?
Yes I have Yolande Stanley, my mentor and friend, helping me out. She trained me for Worldskills 6 years ago, so it was like in the old times. It’s great to bounce ideas with her. Sometimes you can go down the path with one idea with blinkers on, you need someone to ask you “have you thought of this?” or “what is the purpose of this element?” ect. Yolande has a great deal of experience and knowledge it was fantastic to tap into it again. I have also been lucky to have the continued support and encouragement from William and Suzue Curley.
Did you learn anything new?
I have learnt a lot – new techniques and flavour combinations. But more importantly I learnt not to put limits on myself in terms of what you can achieve creatively and technically when you push yourself.
Is there any competitor that you specially admire?
I tried not to look at other competitors, but from what I saw from the national competitions there will be many talented pastry chefs.
Are you looking forward to the competition? How are your feelings?
I’m very much looking forward to it, it’s been a long build up and a lot of preparation so I’m just a bit fidgety now to get it done.
What will you do if you win?
I have not thought that far yet. If I win it will be fantastic but at the moment I’m just concentrating on getting myself the most prepared I can be.
All best, Alistair!