Works at: Pâtisserie Bamas
Qualifiers: best chocolate showpiece, best moulded praline and best small chocolate showpiece
Currently Lab Supervisor at Pâtisserie Bamas (Meilleur Ouvrier de France Pâtissier) in Anglet, Vincent Vallée’s love for chocolate and pastry was already vibrant when he followed his father around the restaurant at the age of six. First proof that good seed makes a good crop, because father Jean-Pascal Vallée’s restaurant Villa Dilecta was endowed with one Michelin star. Rummaging through kitchens from an early age on, Vincent soon served an apprenticeship with Jean-Claude David (Meilleur Ouvrier de France Glacier) to obtain his certificate of qualification as pastry chef.
In 2006 Vincent was proclaimed Best Apprentice of Vendée, France, followed by him advancing to both the departmental and regional final of the 2009 Olympiades des Métiers. Soon after, Vincent served a three-year apprenticeship with Patrick Gelencser to really hone his chocolate and pastry skills to perfection.
In the words of Vincent Vallée:
Where does my passion for chocolate stem from?
I have always loved working with chocolate ever since I started in this business 12 years ago. But my passion took an even more interesting turn when I worked with Patrick Gelencser’s Relais Desserts International at la Roche-sur-Yon with my teammate Alain Roman. Chocolate art and sculpting fascinate me. Modelling, texture, moulding and realism: I like everything about this incredible and limitless raw material.
Why do I participate in the World Chocolate Masters?
During my training with Alain Chartier (MOF) and Relais Desserts International, I read articles on the World Chocolate Masters in the pastry newspaper. I remember how Yvonnick Le Maux and his showpiece really fascinated me. But at the time, I was far from suspecting that I would ever participate in the World Chocolate Masters final. Later in 2011 I decided to participate in La Cabosse d’Or in Vannes, which earned me second place. I was not prepared enough. In 2014, Mr Bamas (MOF), my current employer, decided to sign me up for my first Trophée Criollo at Exp'Hôtel in Bordeaux, the new ‘salon’ that allows access to the French qualifying round for the World Chocolate Masters. It was a chance I couldn’t pass up. This time, I had only one goal: to become the winner. Participating in the World Chocolate Masters helps you push your limits and brings out the best in you. It’s a unique competition in the world of chocolate.
How do I prepare for the World Chocolate Masters?
My preparations for the World Chocolate Masters final began at the end of the national qualifiers in Lyon. Given that the final is in October, that left me 10 months: it’s both a long and short time to reflect on my ideas, consolidate and develop them, and put them into practice. Above all, what was most important was not to lose time. So I worked on my preparations every day after work and on my days off, starting with the tasting assignments, followed by the artistic creation and ending with the chocolate showpiece, for which I received a lot of good advice from Thierry Bamas and Pierre Mirgalet, two of my coaches. Then I kept rehearsing and rehearsing to get my timing perfect.
How do I plan on convincing the jury members?
Just like I did during the national qualifiers, I prepared my showpieces depending on my feelings and what I wanted them to convey. I want to convince the jury members with how my showpiece reflects my interpretation of the competition theme and move them deeply by showing them chocolate mastery, sharpness, cleanliness, skill, dexterity and perfect execution. The flavours they’ll recognise in my creations reflect the things I like to eat: simple and straightforward flavours and textures, and delicate on the palate, with an original design.
What do I hope to learn from this experience?
This adventure is unique and has been since the national qualifiers. No competition is comparable to the World Chocolate Masters. I have the chance to share my passion with other professionals. And I really love the challenge it presents. The challenge is daunting to compare myself with others and go beyond my limits. Participating in a competition like this is not always clear. We think, reflect and work tremendously, which is what makes us progress even more and become stronger. Representing France: many people dream of it, but I will have lived it. And I can say that the World Chocolate Masters experience has made me grow, evolve, affirming my style and my work as chocolatier and pastry chef.