Works at: Casa Isla
Qualifiers: best chocolate showpiece and best moulded praline
Pepe Isla represents the third generation of a family that is wholeheartedly dedicated to pastry. Since childhood, Pepe has been playing and experimenting between the bags of flour in Casa Isla, the family pastry house, developing new recipes, introducing novelty flavours and presenting the world with unusual pastry textures.
His curiosity for all things culinary and his eagerness to learn, lead him to receive training from renowned professionals such as Paco Torreblanca, Ramón Morató, Angelo Corvitto and Jordi Bordas. Today, Pepe is still hell-bent on improving his skills. And he’s determined to take the crown at the 2015 World Chocolate Masters final.
In the words of Pepe Isla:
Where does my passion for chocolate stem from?
I have been passionate about chocolate since childhood. I belong to the third generation of a family devoted body and soul to pastry, the company Ysla. When I was little I played among sacks of flour in the old workshop, coming up with new cakes, flavours and textures. My desire to learn has stimulated me all these years to research and perfect all techniques associated with chocolate.
Why do I participate in the World Chocolate Masters?
For me, participating in the World Chocolate Masters is not only a professional challenge. It is something that goes way beyond that. It is a transformation experience, a personal challenge I have spent years looking for.
How do I prepare for the World Chocolate Masters?
I prepare technically by practising every day to perfect my recipes, flavours and textures. From the moment I wake up in the morning, I have only three words on my mind: ‘World Chocolate Masters’, and these three words echo in my head all day until I go to sleep. I also prepare mentally, because I could never have imagined that a contest would require this level of dedication. Not only physically, but also emotionally. I cried, I laughed, I felt frustrated. But I also enjoyed the rewarding experience of seeing wonderful, almost impossible results become reality.
How do I plan on convincing the jury members?
I think my creations will surprise the jury. As to taste, I can only say that I have worked with daring and powerful flavours. Aesthetically, I have worked with forms and techniques that have perhaps never been seen in a pastry contest before.
What do I hope to learn from this experience?
This experience has taught me many things. But what’s more important is that I now know many things about myself that I didn’t know before. I have grown professionally but more importantly, I have evolved tremendously as a person.