Cream of the crop: Edmonton baker is among the top six in the pastry world
Alan Dumonceaux, chair of baking program at NAIT, is the first Canadian to qualify for the gourmet baking category of The Masters de la Boulangerie
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Only the best of the best get to participate in the so-called Olympics of baking, The Masters de la Boulangerie, and this year for the first time two Canadian bakers were invited to take part.
The competition, held in Paris, France, picks the most “elite bakers” from around the world to participate in three categories: nutritional bread making, gourmet baking (pastry) and artistic bread making.
Alan Dumonceaux, chair of baking program at NAIT, is the first and only Canadian to be invited in the gourmet baking category, competing against other top bakers from Russia, Taiwan, France, United States and Argentina.
Although Dumonceaux did not win the world title, losing to France’s Deborah Ott, he says for him being selected as the top six in the world is no small feat.
“It’s still a feather in your cap when you are the first ever Canadian to qualify in such a prestigious event so it was terrific,” he said.
With stakes so high, Dumonceaux says he calculated logging in close to 1,000 hours preparing for the competition that took place Feb. 3 to Feb. 5.
“There is tremendous amount of pressure,” he said.
“The clock is not your friend in those competitions so you have to work as hard and fast and as organized as you can for 10 hours, so it was a great challenge.”
Dumonceaux says he feels good about the products he created, which include a pastry shaped like a maple tree and another shaped like the wild rose, Alberta’s official flower.
He says he has received positive feedback not only from his own students but also students of the Vancouver Island University who were in France for a school trip.
“They were really excited about it," he said. “This one girl said that she inspires to do what I did in her future. She wants to be competing for Canada.”
He has also received a number of emails from his own students referring to him as “inspiring” and being a “wonderful example” to them.
“We certainly are (proud). I consider it a privilege to be under the instruction and leadership here at NAIT. Second to none,” one student wrote.
Dumonceaux was selected for the competition after he was announced bakery specialist for Team Canada for another world competition in 2016 called Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie.
Dumonceaux believes Edmontonians have a very high chance of competing on world level as the quality of pastries in the city has improved a lot.
“We live in a global world, people know what good pastries should look like,” he said. “The quality of the pastry is improving and what we do at NAIT is at a high level. So, yeah we can certainly compete with the best in the world.”
He says he plans on coaching the next National Baking Team for the World Cup and apply for the role of a International World Expert for Skills Canada.
The other baker representing Canada in the nutritional bread category was Marcus Mariathas from Toronto.