Choc chal­lengers

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By LAUREN PRI­EST­LEY

TWO chefs, 18 kilo­grams of choco­late and eight hours.

That’s the sticky sit­u­a­tion Jiemin Aw and Sarah Har­rap will find them­selves in when they com­pete in the top com­pe­ti­tion for pastry chefs on July 4 in Nor­way.

And they are hop­ing to get the recipe just right.

It is the first time a pastry sec­tion has been in­cluded in the bi­en­nial World As­so­ci­a­tion of Chefs So­ci­eties congress.

The young chefs will com­plete three el­e­ments based on the theme of ‘‘wa­ter’’ for the chal­lenge – in­clud­ing a choco­late show­piece more than 1 me­tre high.

The de­sign of the choco­late cake, desserts and show­piece is top se­cret but Aw and Har­rap say they will be us­ing the shapes of hu­man limbs and house­hold items. Ev­ery­thing will be made from choco­late or su­gar.

They are freight­ing more than 100kg of equip­ment to Nor­way for their cre­ation, Aw says.

‘‘It a huge process. I’m more ner­vous at the mo­ment but also ex­cited.

‘‘There’s a lot to fig­ure out when we get there, like sourc­ing dif­fer­ent in­gre­di­ents, then a huge rush on the day, then we’ll breathe out and wash ev­ery­thing up at the end.’’

Aw sin­gle-hand­edly won the Asia-Pa­cific semi­fi­nal com­pe­ti­tion in 2013 to gain en­try to the world com­pe­ti­tion this year.

The 27-year-old says her as­sis­tant, Har­rap, 23, from Mt Al­bert, is so qual­i­fied for the job they are fac­ing it as a team event.

They have been prac­tis­ing from 5.30am un­til about 6pm each Satur­day with­out breaks.

Har­rap says it is a rush to get all three el­e­ments done but it gets eas­ier the more they prac­tise.

‘‘It’s still a push be­cause you want to get as much done as pos­si­ble but at the same time you’ve done it so much you want to keep get­ting the time down,’’ she says.

Aw agrees: ‘‘The train­ing is pre­par­ing us for all of the worst case sce­nar­ios that could hap­pen dur­ing the ac­tual day. We’ve had the show­piece fall over and all sorts.’’

The most ex­pen­sive part of the com­pe­ti­tion has been the choco­late for train­ing, she says.

Teams have to use a spe­cific type of Val­rhona choco­late in the com­pe­ti­tion and it is im­por­tant to train with it as well, she says.

Af­ter each run-through, the team melts the show­piece choco­late down so it can be reused and gifts the desserts and cake to fam­ily and friends.

Both chefs trained at AUT and have been us­ing the univer­sity as a base for train­ing, Aw says.

New Zealand Pastry Team mem­ber and se­nior AUT lec­turer Arno Sturny says he has high hopes for the duo.

‘‘We’re al­ways hop­ing for a win­ning place,’’ Sturny says.

‘‘They’re not just go­ing to this event to make up the num­bers.

‘‘For them it’s that per­sonal growth. Ev­ery time they com­pete, they be­come stronger and stronger. Places like that is where the learn­ing hap­pens.’’

Photo: JUN TANLAYCO/ NEW ZEALAND CHOCO­LATE FES­TI­VAL

All choco­late: New Zealand Pastry Team mem­bers Robert Bok, Jiemin Aw, Sarah Har­rap and Vi­vian Clarke with some of their pre­vi­ous cre­ations.

Photo: LAUREN PRI­EST­LEY

Strong duo: Sarah Har­rap and Jiemin Aw are gear­ing up for the big­gest chal­lenge of their ca­reers.

Photo: JUN TANLAYCO/NEW ZEALAND CHOCO­LATE FES­TI­VAL

Work­ing to­gether:

Jiemin Aw and Sarah Har­rap say team­work is es­sen­tial.

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