Chefs from nine countries convened at the 2017 edition of la Crème de la Crème. Chefs from nine countries convened at the 2017 edition of la Crème de la Crème.

Chefs working Saudi Arabia and the UAE joined professionals from seven other countries for the 2017 edition of la Crème de la Crème pastry event at At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy in Singapore.

The event, organised by CNIEL, the French Dairy Interbranch Organisation, and the European Union, and in association with Sopexa Middle East, is part of a three-year partnership to promote French dairy products in the Middle East and Asia.

Chefs Mayada Badr from Saudi Arabia and Waddah Bou Saad from the UAE, where French cream imports are expected to top 5,000 tonnes and 2,000 tonnes respectively in 2017, were representing the region.

Centre National Interprofessionel de l’Economie Laitière (CNIEL) communication director Laurent Damiens said: “French cream is an essential ingredient in authentic French pastry and no other product can replicate its rich and aromatic flavours. Creating new pastries by combining these traditional flavours and techniques with new international and modern influences demonstrates the versatility of this key ingredient.”

The Middle East chef contingent was joined at the event by representatives from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. Each was tasked with creating a unique pastry to present to an audience of leading F&B media during an evening event.

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Educated at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu Paris, Chef Mayada has interned at Ladurée and Bastide de Saint Antoine, a two-Michelin starred restaurant in the French city of Grasse. She moved back to Saudi Arabia to open Pink Camel pastry boutique, combining Arabic and French influences.

Waddah Bou Saad began his career in Syria before moving to Dubai in 2007 where he went to on to work at La Serre. It was there, under Chef Izu, that Saad learned the importance of French baking, allowing him to perfect his hand at patisseries. In 2016, Saad became a part of YSeventy7 an F&B boutique agency created by Chef Izu and developing unique concepts, including the recently opened Lighthouse in D3.

Chefs had to work on the theme ‘Blanc de Blanc’, or ‘White of Whites’, with the only requisite being to use their creativity to make a dessert with one shade of white and one texture of cream.

The final recipes will be published in an illustrated recipe book, which will be used as a training tool for students and used to highlight the pastries crafted using European cream.

Sopexa runs a series of French pastry training courses in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, co-financed by CNIEL & the European Union, with the confirmed schedule of events currently running into 2018.

Sopexa Middle East account director Edwina Salvatori said: “French cream enjoys widespread popularity because of its quality and its use has adapted to the needs, practices and new expectations of chefs. Events like this one are vital to keeping the tradition of change alive and the creations this year will no doubt influence a new wave of trends in French cream.”