Tuesday, March 16, 2010

time to get started

Late Saturday afternoon, I started the day running out to the airport to meet up with Patti. That went well. She was in pretty much on time. Back into Paris with her, she went right to bed and I headed off to the convention. Got to the show around 1pm, Peter was heading off to nap. Somewhere behind the bakeshops. Roger and I set off to see some of the show. Peter was due to do his “Secret ingredient “ selection at 3pm. We returned to the competition area around 2:50, Roger went to get Peter. He appeared from the back, with a headset and sunglasses. Looked like an astronaut. Headphones were for quiet and the glasses for darkness. Japan/bread, Holland/viennoserie and Spain/artistic had the 5am start this day, they were finished. North Korea /bread, Spain/viennoiserie and Poland/artistic, were still at work. They had a late start so they were due to finish at 3:15. I never really heard what Peter drew in the lottery. He seemed pleased. He headed into the back to gather up his tools. He spread everything out in his bakeshop, over his two tables and the head judge came to inspect. He has a checklist of ingredients/tools that Peter had to submit back in early February. Mario, head of the jury, baker in Montreal, had to be sure that everything was on the up and up. No prescaled ingredients, or unapproved contraband. He was comfortable peter was playing by the rules and off he went to Robert, the Hungarian pastry baker. Both candidates in one category, started their two prep together, but they had staggered starts for the eight hour bake. I was off to view the work done that day, that by now was on display.

The Japanese bread baker had practiced at the Lille facility with, I was somewhat familiar with his product, No surprises there. Bread was o.k. He did a roasted onion loaf that had enough black pepper in it to totally numb any judges palatte. Not a good idea. Strange thing, and I don’t know why, but the competition only offered type 65 and type 45 flour. Candidates had their choice of with or without ascorbic acid, but no typical, type 55 flour. French flours are rated by their ash content, that is what the number means. Both the Japanese, and the Tawaiian baker had issues with the type 65 flour back in Lille. This flour seemed much “Whiter” than what I saw in Lille. These baguettes were much nicer than what he did up in Lille. Asian bakers prefer to do a four hour straight dough, no preferment. They are not fans of fermentation flavor. Centuries of white pan bread and rice, caused this. The Holland pastry was fair. It appeared he ran out of time. I learned later that his father had passed away four weeks earlier. Nice guy, very personable. Fluent in English. The Spanish artistic piece was done very well. His plaques around the base of his display were really nice. He did a guitar, a bulls head, a toreador's cape, and a Spanish style hat all centered around a near life size chair.

They started judging the goods done by the bakers that had the 7am start, and I headed back into Paris. It was Mediterranean food to go that night for dinner, in our room, split a bottle of wine, a little CNN, and off to bed. I know I’ll sleep better than Peter will.


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