Wednesday, March 17, 2010

dara's day

Tuesday morning I caught the 6:15am bus. Dara had started at 4:20am. As expected she was well on her way. She had come to France thinking that she had to do a two meter structure. She practiced it that way, up in Lille as well as at home. Once we got to Paris, she realized that the two meters included her twenty inch high platform. She was relieved. I can say it now, she had issues up in Lille, getting’ that thing to stand up. As she said “The universe takes care of itself”. She chose to cut down the “Wobbly” portion of her design, to a sensible eight inches, instead of twenty. The convention hall was of course empty. Doors open at 9am. I had a good chance to view the efforts of the Monday bakers. Peter was there and offered that the croissants done by the French baker, were “Black on the bottom”. Peter’s chances improved. I asked “Did he finish on time”? Peter said “Yes, he did”. I knew his chances just got slimmer.

The Monday bread bake was done by Morocco and Holland. No issues, nothing special. The artistic work was done by Slovakia and Uruguay. Again, nothing special. One note, I really question if the bread plaques were done by the same person who baked for Slovakia on Monday. The detail displayed in the plaques was absent on the showpiece. The showpiece was large, very large. It was full, but without detail. She even did a lot of raw, “Dead dough”, completely within the rules. France and Costa Rica, did the pastry portion. France’s pastry was nice. Nice brioche, very nice. He did a border on one of his pieces that didn’t fit the category, from where I stood. Viennoiserie, to me, as I was taught by Didier Rosada “Needs to be done in form that would be done in a bakery, and can be picked up with a tissue and placed into a paper bag, carried home and remain in the same form. No sugar spikes, chocolate curls or flower petals”. This piece had a joconde biscuit frame. Something that belongs around a cake, not a breakfast pastry. The Costa Rican pastry was flat and bland looking. As an example, he did one piece that looked like a violin or fiddle. Shape was nice, but there wasn’t any filling on the neck or the things you turn to tighten the strings. What if a judge got a piece of that? Here it’s not so much an issue, but in the Coupe, there are eleven judges. No way you can cut one of those into eleven pieces and not disappoint one of the judges.

Dara’s pulled it off, the last minute change, that is. The base was shorter and it made things much more stable. She was cruisin’. A component was uncle Sam’s hat. Red and white with a blue band, with white stars. She did that and her waving American flag’s better than she did in Lille. She looked good, on time, confident. Another component she did was a big, abstract star. Five points, none equal. She baked it/on a mold she had made. It was about twenty four inches long, sixteen inches wide. Curved/bowed, concaved. The points hit the oven deck, not the middle of the star. She bordered this with dead dough, than made a lace curtain type look, with laminated dough. Her minimum requirement was twenty five percent “Live dough”, dough with yeast. This was a good way to deal with that issue. She added a duplicate border of dead dough and baked it. It was very cool, a big part of her piece. Her plan was to create the base, then build the top half, and at the end set them together. Everything went as planned until she set the top on the base. The lacey star piece wasn’t secured and it hit the floor, from about two feet up. She picked it up with a dust pan. The hearts dropped of all those who saw it. In unison, a hundred gasping mouths. Twenty five minutes to go. All she had left to do was set it together and clean up. I hollered at her “Make it over, take the penalty of going over on time”. She came near the ropes, Craig and I were there, we again told her make it over, she asked about missing the live dough volume, hey, desperate times call for……… She made a star using only the dead dough border and finished, maybe seven, eight minutes late. It looked great. To bad it was missing that lacey part. When the piece was viewed, finished, it really made it complete. Now it was missing something, seemed rather hollow. Of all the artistic work, Dara’s piece said United States more than other carried across the intended message. Theme was the fourth of July. She did it well. Created fireworks coming out of the inverted hat, resting on two, duplicate waving flags. The artistic baker from Spain said “Ella es un ganador seguro”, “She’ll win for sure”. We’ll see. She did a great job.

Tonight it’s off to dinner with Tim Foley, his wife Pat and their daughter Lauren. Reservation was made by Jean Joho at a place called Chez Michel. Should be good, Tim doesn’t spend much time eating at Denny’s while in France.

Tomorrow we are leaving Paris around 8am. I won’t be there when the winners are announced. As soon as we land in Nice, I’ll be on the phone with Craig. I’m anxious to hear, not nearly as anxious as Peter and Dara.


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