Pastry chef Ben Haslett will be competing in this year's Chocolate Grand Prix at the 2013 Foodservice Australia show in Melbourne. GoHospitality catches up with Ben before the competition to talk chocolate and game plans.
What’s your background as a chef?
As a Pastry Chef for the last 12 years, I've been working in hotels for most of my career. I have taken positions in restaurants, patisseries and bakeries as well. My last major position was as the Pastry Chef of the Waldorf Hilton in London. I am now the Assistant Pastry Chef at Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast and teach Patisserie classes in my spare time as 'blanc pâtissier'
Why have you entered the competition? As a chef, what do you think are the benefits of getting involved in this competition?
I entered the competition to gain experience and learn more as I'd like to represent Australia some time. It also highlights the skills and talent that Australian Pastry Chefs have which are usually over shadowed by the Europeans. I also get to play with Callebaut Chocolate all day! I've used about 100+ kgs in practice time. All in all, its been great.
What rewards or benefits will you get from the competition?
I think from the competition, I'll learn a lot from the other Pastry Chefs, I'll get to meet people who are looking for similar goals to achieve. It will be a positive experience for all involved.
Have you ever competed in anything similar before, or any of other competitions? How did you go?
This is my first real competition. I've not really had the chance to do any as either living in Queensland with the hot weather or tralvelling have made it difficult to compete.
What will be your strategy in this competition?
My strategy is just to focus on what I've done in practice and do my own piece as I want it done. Remaining calm is the biggest hurdle I think.
Do you know who your competitors are? What strengths do you have over your competitors?
I have no idea who will be there on the day. One strength I have is not giving in too easily. If it's worth doing, do it well and fight for a result.