27-year-old and first-time participant in a competition for culinary professionals Vincent Vallée had the winner’s eye during the whole of the French WCM qualifying round at Sirha in Lyon. He took great risks, showed excellent technique and conjured up daring flavour combinations, much to the delight of the jury members. Those, in turn, were unanimous in their decision. According to their professional opinion, there was only one participant worthy of representing France during the 2015 World Chocolate Masters final at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris. And that participant is Vincent Vallée.
Vincent works at Patisserie Bamas in Anglet, not too far from the city of Biarritz. Despite his young age, he showed the jury and the visitors of Sirha what he’s made of. With a great display of technique, creativity, daring flavour combinations and, above all, self-confidence he managed to overshadow all other 11 French participants. The jury unanimously found that he excelled in no less than three of five competition assignments: best chocolate showpiece, best moulded praline and best small chocolate showpiece. David Roche was awarded the award for best Cake of the Day. Franck Jouvenal impressed the jury with his Chocolate to Go concept.
What did the jury have to say?
Emmanuel Ryon, head of the tasting jury:
“Looking back on the French qualifying rounds, I have to say that Vincent simply rose head and shoulders above the rest. He’s very passionate in what he does and that really shone through in all his creations. He mainly applied a classical technique, but it was perfectly executed. I was impressed with his unique style.”
Pierre Mirgalet, honorary president:
“What I liked most about Vincent’s creations is that he wasn’t afraid to take risks. And as you see, it really paid off. For instance, his chocolate showpiece was a staggering 160 cm high, but it was resting on a miniscule pedestal. He balanced it out perfectly. That requires a lot of technique.
Another thing I really liked, was his moulded praline. Vincent showed us his most inventive side by coming up with a brand-new way of using a Bonny mould that made demoulding incredibly easy. And the flavours in it: he made a ganache with banana, passion fruit and Alunga™ milk chocolate and combined it with hazelnut crunch. It was a pleasure on the tongue: tasty, light and not too sweet.
But the daring flavour combinations Vincent managed to present us, really hit it home for me. He used a wide variety of flavours and different couverture chocolates for all his creations. No other contestant really did that. He combined Inaya™ dark chocolate with kiwi and passion fruit and even used the Fleur de Cao™ chocolate. A true feat of resourcefulness, intelligence and creativity.”
Philippe Bertrand, responsible for the jury:
“Young as he is, Vincent can still make a lot of progress and has the potential to grow into one of the best chefs on an international level. His skill level is enormous. His chocolate showpiece reflected that. It was so natural, so harmonious and so full of detail. It didn’t have anything ‘fabricated’ about it. It was as if it had grown naturally. And bearing in mind that he has to represent our country during the world final, there’s no doubt in my mind that it wasn’t the right decision to choose Vincent as our national champion.”