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Taiwan: The winner of the Masters de la Boulangerie 2010 is…

Pao-Chun Wu, winner of the Coupe Louis Lesaffre in 2007 and silver medalist at the World Cup of Baking in 2008, has won the championship at the Masters de la Boulangerie 2010. (Via News from la Coupe Louis Lesaffre)

twrose describes the 2008 competition, which paths Wu's way to the master of bakery:

三月二十九日,所有選手聚集到巴黎北部的選手村,天氣雖冷,空氣中卻充滿煙硝味。最引人注目的是這次比賽三大種子隊之一的日本隊,是由有上百家連鎖店的東客麵包店與神戶屋主廚、帝國飯店主廚,以及二○○二年拿到世界冠軍的日本選手所訓練出來的菁英隊伍。「他們看都不看你,」吳寶春記得對手的氣勢,台灣隊則是第一次參加這種國際賽事的小隊伍。

In March 29th, all competitors came to the village in northern Paris. Although it was cold, you could smell the gunpowder in the air. The most glaring team is the team from Japan, one of the three most promising teams in this competition. The elites in the Japanese team included the chefs in the chain stores DONQ and the Imperial Hotel, who were trained by the winner of the World Cup of Baking in 2002. That was the first time the Taiwanese team attending this competition. Pao-Chun remembered that no one noticed the Taiwanese team.

世界盃前一個半月,法國突然寄來新的比賽規則:要求歐式麵包項目(編按:由吳寶春負責)要在八小時內做出十一種麵包,共二百五十一個。「怎麼那麼多?怎麼做得出來!」所有人都嚇到了,這麼大的量,一般需要十二個小時呀!…八小時,沒人喝一口水、或離開上廁所,拚盡全部的力氣,終於在倒數三分鐘前完成,整場歡聲鼓掌。台灣是當天第一組完成的隊伍,在十二隊國際隊伍裡,只有六隊順利完成,連日本隊都沒有完成。

One and half month before the World Cup of Baking (in 2008), the administration office in France sent new rules to the competitors. They asked the chef in the category baguettes and specialty breads (Pao-Chun in the Taiwanese team) to make 11 kinds of baguettes, in total 251 baguettes, within eight hours. All competitors were surprised by this request because this amount of breads usually takes 12 hours…In the eight hours in the competition, no one in the Taiwanese team drank a drop of water or went to the toilet. They worked with full strength and finished the task three minutes before the deadline. The Taiwanese team was the first one to finish, and the audience applauded for their effort. In 12 teams, only six made it. Even the Japanese team failed to finish the task on time.

bakery2
Photo courtesy of justeating.

Wildeny said why it is not easy for a chef trained and working in Taiwan to win the championship:

In Taiwan, this kind of artisan-style bread is not widely accepted. People still used to pastry-like sweet bread (soft & rich; which was influenced by Japan) or traditional steamed buns. Most bakers do not master in artisan baking.

The most challenging part in the competition, Justeating said is the specialty breads.

最需花腦力的是具有國家特色的麵包。前一次比賽時,寶春師傅採用紅酒桂圓麵包奪取亞軍,那百年老龍眼樹和柴火慢燻產出的桂圓,的確是一款百分百的台灣味。而今年呢?

The competitors must think hard to produce the specialty breads that can represent the competitor’s own country. Last time (2008) the red wine longan breads won Pao-Chun the silver medal in the World Cup of Baking. The dried longan he used is from a longan tree that has been producing longan for hundreds of years. As soon as the longan is harvested, it is roasted in a wood-fired oven for six days and nights. The dired longan certainly represents Taiwan. What specialty breads will he make this year?

bakery1
Photo courtesy of justeating.

「我想用荔枝乾和玫瑰,然後用原住民的小米酒做媒介,你覺得如何?」

Pao-Chun asked me, ‘I want to add dried lichee and rose to the breads and use the millet wine as the medium. What do you think?’

玫瑰的香氣,荔枝乾的淡甜,小米酒的酸韻,這三種味道想在麵包中取得平衡,困難度不低啊!

It is difficult to find a balance among the aroma of rose, slight sweetness of dried lichee, and the sour flavor in the millet wine.

果然,在接下來的一段時間中,我嘗到許多次失敗的作品,有時小米酒酸味過高,有時荔枝乾軟爛無味,有時嘗不出玫瑰的香氣。諸多狀況發生後,我曾不只一次建議寶春師傅,看要不要將香氣最淡的玫瑰拿掉,然而寶春師傅每回都以「凡事正面思考,讓我們再試試看」做結論。

Just as expected, I ate a lot of failure products in the following months. Sometimes the sour flavor in the millet wine was too intense, sometimes the dried lichee was soft, rotten, and without its lychee flavor, sometimes I could not find the aroma of rose. After eating these failure products, I told Pao-Chun several times that he should give up rose because its aroma is the lightest. Nevertheless, Pao-Chun always told me, ‘we should think positively. Let us try one more time.’

出發前往法國比賽之前,寶春師傅總算抓到了完美的配方,三角型的麵包外型,在原住民的意涵裡代表頂天立地的山峰,上頭以麵粉營造出荔枝的圖像…再以荔枝酒取代小米酒,凸顯荔枝的香氣,夾雜著埔里的有機玫瑰香息,做出口感清雅獨特的--「荔香玫瑰麵包」。

Before Pao-Chun left for the competition in France, he finally found the perfect ingredients. The triangle shape of the breads represents mountains in our aboriginal culture. On the surface of the breads is the figure of lichee made of flour. In the competition, he used the lichee wine to replace the millet wine so the aroma of lichee can stand out. On top of it is the aroma of the organic rose from Puli–This is the graceful and special lichee rose breads.

When Pao-Chun won the Masters de la Boulangerie, Justeating, who is a close friend of Pao-Chun, had very complicated emotions.

知道寶春師傅得到冠軍時,我腦海中第一個浮出的畫面,不是寶春師傅高舉著獎杯、身邊被眾多媒體環繞的景象,而是一個往來於烤箱和製麵台之間的疲憊身影,一個為了夢想憋著一股勁兒的執著眼神──那是2010年2月24日下午,吳寶春出發前往巴黎比賽的最後一次練習。

When I heard that Pao-Chun is the winner, the first image brought to my mind is not the image of him holding the cup and surrounded by the reporters. Instead, it is a tired figure walking between the oven and the working platform with strong will in the eyes fired by his dream. That is in the afternoon, Feb 24th, 2010, when Pao-Chun did his last practice for the competition before he left for Paris.

對於寶春師傅來說,這是一場「一個人的戰爭」,周遭朋友能做的事情,除了鼓勵之外,只有默默地相伴。

To Pao-Chun, this is a war between himself. His friends can only encourage him and accompany him.

「比賽是短暫的,學習是永遠的。」

He said, ‘the competition is transient, but the lesson I learn from it lasts forever.’

就他的角度來看,這次參加比賽的目的,除了希望將台灣的好告訴全世界之外,還能讓他學習如何跟壓力相處。自我的成長空間,遠遠比以奪冠來得重要。

From his perspective, the goals of this competition are telling the world the good stuff in Taiwan and learning to deal with pressure. The personal development is far more important than winning the prize.

This is a video for the World Cup of Baking in 2008.

2 comments

  • Claire

    A delicious blogpost. Thank you for informing us on the Masters de la boulangerie, very few people in France are aware of this Cup.

  • Hi Claire,
    If you live in a place that you can always find fantastic breads in your neighborhood, I guess you do not need to care who wins the world cup ;D
    Thanks for the translation!

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