Monday, May 3, 2010

Pastry Scares Me!

Quincy Adams-Erickson talks about this year's 2010 WFFT Pastry Scholarship Competition

This year will be the third annual Pastry Scholarship Competition, sponsored by The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas and in 2010, honoring a Texas pastry legend, Chef Philip Speer of UCHI.

Frankly, pastry is terrifying. In pastry, you have to measure, in pastry you must be exact, in pastry you may not know you’ve made a mistake until the pastry is completely done. In pastry, little sins reveal themselves when you cut into them or taste them…but not before. In pastry, a lot more can go wrong that cannot be fixed. And to fix probably means to start from scratch – literally – and begin again. Like I said, pastry is terrifying.

While I have been a chef for 25 plus years, what I knew of pastry was very little except what I managed to teach myself. And it was terrifying to me. I could never make a cake that was not leaden. My breads would not rise. I never tried to make a pie. My children would ask my friends to make their birthday cakes.

Speed forward many many years. I am now a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, in both pastry and cuisine. After nine months with some of the best pastry teachers in the world, I can do pastry. Slap me again, I can do pastry. Amazing. And fun. So much fun.

Inspired by the amazing pastry chefs in Texas, armed with my newfound awareness of these skills and a greater understanding of the daily work and impeccable technique required, I was no longer afraid of pastry. And I thought it was time for a new culinary competition. One that reveals the perseverance, dedication, skills, and hours (months! years!) of practice required to become a pastry chef. I thought it was time to put the spotlight on those people who faced their fears and took on pastry. And Voila, through the generosity of The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas, we are embarking on our third year of competition.

There’s still time! If you’re a pastry student at an accredited culinary school in Texas, we invite you to show us what you’ve got. We’re offering a grand prize of a $5,000 scholarship and the chance to feature your recipes in our Plate & Vine Interactive Cookbook. The two runners-up each receive $1,000 each. Visit and postmark your entries by May 14, 2010. Call 512.327.755 if you have questions. And for everyone else who is still a bit intimidated by pastry, come out on Sunday, May 23rd, 2010 to help us crown the winner. Photo ops and interviews with the chefs and judges between 11:00 AM and 11:30 AM. Press conference and scholarship winner announced at 2:45 PM.


Chef Quincy Adams-Erickson
Chair, 2010 WFFT Pastry Competition

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