Self-Criticism as a means of reaching the ideal ……or Why Pastry Chefs are such Perfectionists


Those who succeeded in increasing the prestige of the confectioner's profession and presented the beauty to the public J actually became the true stars of the Championship! Eight contestants from across Ukraine diligently worked to create their exquisite desserts. Visitors to the Chocolate Festival were busily engaged in capturing the magic through the lenses of their cameras, closely examining and commenting on their sculptures, the same as the work of the contestants in their cubicles. The audience was cheering for Dmytro Dudarenko whilst he was creating a base for his chocolate sunflower. The master thanked all those who had wished for his success, and confessed that until the very last moment he had been hoping against hope to hear his name called out in the finals, despite the mistakes he had made.

Oh these pastry masters! We should understand that such self-critical artists are rarely ever met in any other occupation. Oleksander Brazhevsky, who created a stylish chocolate composition with cacao beans, says that he failed to achieve total excellence: ‘Probably I will not come out the winner, as I faced several small setbacks. I see with my own eyes that some of the contestants here have done better, but we shall await the outcome.’

Maxym Humeniuk is also very unassuming: ‘Taking part in this competition has allowed me to understand my weaknesses and realize what should be improved. I have taken notes, have been thinking things over, and realised that there lies ahead a great deal of work in order for the necessary progress to be made. I have made many plans for myself and strongly believe that all my plans will be fulfilled!’

Volodymyr Pryshchepa, who spent 6 months recovering following an injury during a bicycle trip to Turkey, found himself with only a very limited amount of time to prepare for this competition. The master thinks this lack of time had a negative impact on his performance: ‘I have not been engaged in cake glazing or making chocolates for a long time – and unfortunately my performance today was lacking in excellence. I see shortcomings in my chocolates that I have never experienced before. It is all about practice – the knowledge is with me, but I need to regain my skills. I need to overcome this barrier, spend time working out what went wrong, work, work, and work even harder over and over again …until perfection is achieved!

This must be true, if even Ihor Zaritsky, Ukraine’s Best Confectioner, admits that he is ‘somewhat unsatisfied with himself’ .

Instead, everyone was more than satisfied with the ambience generated during the Championship. Endorphins must have been radiating around the Hall of the Palace, encouraging genuine smiles, high spirits and happiness. It is now clear to us why some of contestants have developed a true dependence on such contests. ‘Such competitions have an effect similar to that of drugs,’ comments Ihor Zaritsky, the winner of BISCOTTI Chef Confectioner 2015. ‘It is enough to take part in such a competition just the once – and the passion gets into your soul, resulting in a thirst to have more of this feeling and drive. There is of course much worry, many fears – even a sort of panic thrown into the mix – but then all these things go away…and you pick yourself up. Then, when you realize that you are short of time or something is going wrong, you start panicking again. Stress returns with a vengeance, then you pull yourself up again and your drive is there with you. Thus, this sequence repeats itself several times. Therefore I am really impressed and totally satisfied!’

Chocolate Aficionados: a Handful of Happy Impressions

True professionals should probably be self-rigorous, but we, simply ordinary candy hounds, know for sure that the masterpieces created at the BISCOTTI Chef Confectioner 2015 are just perfect…and stunning! They are winners in every respect, be it shape, content, or taste!

The large number of visitors to the National Chocolate Fest and Ukraine’s First Confectionery Art Championship are of a similar opinion. Among them we met Bohdan, Maria Shramko’s nephew, who believes that a dazzling future lies ahead for the Ukrainian pastry masters: ‘I must say, this is the first time that I have attended such a championship, and my emotions are brimming over - it will suffice to mention just this aroma alone. I am most certainly used to such chocolates, as my aunt makes them. Nevertheless, this atmosphere is just overwhelming. Looking at these contestants, their chocolates, and their level of professionalism, I can categorically state that they are truly prepared and ready to perform at International level competitions.’

Liudmila has come from Poltava to attend the Chocolate Fest for the third time, and to celebrate her birthday here. She was following every aspect of the work of the masters in their cubicles with total fascination. ‘Lviv is a special city,’ says Liudmila. ‘It is the perfect place for a celebration. This year I was even luckier because this Championship is being staged here. This event is very enterprising and totally professional. Also, the contestants have a great appeal and are good people!’

Another chocolate aficionado, Sofiyka, has picked up on the significance of this event: ‘This is so good for Lviv – and it is only rarely that one can come across such an event. Also, a marvellous opportunity is offered to those wishing to assess their talents. Also I learnt that there is an International School of Culinary Arts. One may taste many different types of chocolate, and the pastry masters are all true professionals and most certainly deserve to win.’

We believe that taking part in this level of Championship has already resulted in a victory: for the talented pastry chefs, for the jury’s International team, and for all those involved in staging the BISCOTTI Chef Confectioner 2015. This event has been judged a resounding success, with the awards going to the most talented, and we have realised that we need to appreciate even more the masters whose talents sweeten our lives and fill them with beauty!