Two chefs from the Middle East participated in the Singapore leg of Cream of Europe, a three-year global campaign organised by CNIEL, the French Dairy Interbranch Organisation and the EU, to raise awareness of French dairy cream in Asia.
Chef Ludovic Audaux, complex executive pastry chef – Al Habtoor City Complex, Dubai and chef Mona Mosly, executive chef, Adel Abualjdayel, Jeddah, and jury at Taste represented the Middle East at the pastry event, which took place at the At-Sunrice Global Chef Academy in Singapore from 18-19 July.
Commenting on the experience, Audaux said: “It was great to see new faces and new people, especially those who don’t have the same culinary habits as Europeans. I saw lots of things that have opened my eyes on what’s going on in this part of the world.
Audaux, Mosly and seven more chefs from key cities in Asia showcased how to incorporate their country’s ingredients into the traditional French pastry dish, Saint Honoré.
While Mosly made a reinterpretation of the Middle Eastern baklava using puff pastry and pistachio cream, Audaux combined his French heritage and Middle Eastern experience using seasonal cherries and a hibiscus insert with a white chocolate and rosewater ganache.
Explaining why using European cream in his pastries is so important to achieving the best taste, Audaux said: “It’s for the taste, the volume, and for the texture. There’s nothing comparable to the cream you have in Europe.”
Mosly added: “I decided to be part of this event because when I worked in Paris I realised that having a good ingredient can make a dish worth millions.”
The campaign is taking place in nine countries across Asia and the Middle East: China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and chefs from each of these countries were present at the two-day event in Singapore.
Throughout the year, a range of activities for pastry chefs is organised in the participating countries by communications and marketing agency Sopexa to help raise awareness of the benefits of using European cream.
Events include master classes with reputed pastry chefs and training sessions in cooking schools.
As part of the campaign, La Crème de la Crème recipe book is developed each year and distributed in the nine countries.
This year, the book will showcase the nine Middle Eastern and Asian interpretations of the Saint Honoré, and will be published in August.
Commenting on the experience, Mosly said: “It’s very nice how one cake can be made with so many different ingredients and different creations.
“Everyone comes from all over Asia and I’ve liked representing Saudi, being one of the first chefs to do something like this.”