December 31st, 2011

Skills Competition 2011 & Mrs T

(Pastry chef doing sugar craft, working under the heat lamp)

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Here’s something that happened back in October. – I told you I had a back-log of stuff to write about! :)

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In October I visited the Skills Competition* held at the Excel centre in London. I never knew about this competition before but it’s a huge event held every 2 years, where over 950 Competitors from 51 countries compete to be ‘the best of the best’ in 46 different skill competitions. I found out via Mrs T, who I’ll tell you about later.

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The type of skills competed are vast. Some of which are:

Wall & Floor Tiling, Cabinetmaking , Offset Printing, Floristry, Mechanical Engineering, Mobile Robotics, Hairdressing, Caring, Beauty Therapy. – And the ones that are of interest to me & probably to you are Confectioner/Pastry Cook & Restaurant Service.

- Below in grey-type are what those two categories are about in detail (copied & pasted from the Skills Comp. website.)

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Confectioner/Pastry Cook:

Confectioners/pastry cooks are skilled craftsmen and women. High levels of knowledge and practical expertise are required to produce the range of intricate items which they provide.

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Confectioners/pastry cooks create an abundant variety of elaborate and delicious products for all kinds of event, which employs artistic talent as well as gastronomic flair. They must be able to work economically and use their initiative, not forgetting the quality of products, ergonomics, and health and safety regulations. They make and present decorated cakes, pastries, biscuits, chocolates, modelled marzipan, hot and cold desserts as well as centre pieces in various mediums such as chocolate, cooked sugar, pastillage and nougatine.

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Contestants are all in individual booths. Observers are very close to these contestants, about just 1 meter, only separated by red rope. When I visited, the chefs were all doing sugar work. It was very exciting to watch as I have no experience in it. It was so inspiring that I pondered on finding a course that I can enroll myself on. And actually, even just looking at what equipment they were using was totally interesting & I was hanging around these booths for a very very long time.

- Many congratulations to Austria, France & Japan for winning the Gold medals!

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Restaurant Service:

Restaurant Service demands an extensive knowledge of international cuisine, of beverages and bar service. The waiter is the most important contact person in attending the customers. It is therefore necessary to have a complete command of serving rules and to know the preparation of special dishes and drinks at the guest’s table. Basic requirements are skill and resourcefulness, good manners, aplomb and practical ability.

- Restaurant service requires excellent skills in areas such as:

- – Serving food and drinks
- - Mixing international drinks and working behind the bar
- – Preparing food in front of customers, e.g. carving or flambéing
- – Serving wine
- – Identifying alcoholic drinks
- – Folding napkins

Service skills require competence across these types of restaurants:

– - Bistro ~ Plated service
- – Cocktail Bar ~ Gueridon service
- – À la carte restaurant ~ Cooking at the table
- – Fine dining ~ Gueridon service

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www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Coco and Me - Skills Competition 2011 London Excel Centre

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At the Cabinet making booth:

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Embroidered on the back of every Japan team member is がんばろう日本!- Meaning “Don’t give up Japan!” A message of strength with a deep meaning for the earthquake that happened on March the 11th.

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Now, you’re perhaps wondering why I went to see the cabinet making section right? Well, it was to try & find Mrs T, who was working there as a translator for the Japan team.

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Mrs T & I have been pen-friends for a long time now, first through this blog & then to exchanging long emails & pictures. But we never met, what with being in a different country. When she found out that she is to visit London for her work, she contacted me, but her busy schedule in London with the team, aswell as that coinciding with my baking schedule was such that we sadly couldn’t plan a proper meeting. But I said I’ll pop by her area & see her work from afar.

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!! There she is, there she is!!

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I immediately spotted her in the distance in the blue jacket. I was wondering if she’d look my way & then I’d at least wave to let her know that I did come, but she looked very busy… I decided to have lunch then come back & try my luck after.

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During lunch I struck a chat with pastry lecturers from Northern Regional College, their students were doing demonstrations at the show. We talked about the Red Devil apples that they were using in their desserts. – Red Devil apples are stunning bright red in colour, almost lipstick red, sweet & juicy. The unusual thing about these apples are that the flesh is pink stained (how beautiful!) & that the juice is pink too. Now I want a red-fleshed apple tree for my (small) garden!

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Satisfactory lunch & pleasant chat over, I moved on to go for a final visit to Mrs T’s area. I’m so glad I did go back because I finally managed to catch her & wave! – And even better, Mrs T came out to have a chat too!

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www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Coco and Me - Skills Competition 2011 London

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I think we both felt a little weird & giddy from finally meeting after so long! And Mrs T was such a lovely, warm, friendly person!! What touched me was her faith/ confidence in how I will be successful in what I do – It kind of blew me a bit because most of this year I have been on the ‘down’, feeling tired all the time & consequently feeling uncreative. – But Mrs T, your such supportive words must be working its magic, as it propelled me to finally get going with experimenting in the midnight kitchen again for new recipes! I’m glad that I met you. One day (& God only knows when), I’ll finally visit Japan, & so I hope to meet you again! (& hopefully in beautiful Miyakojima)!

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* The next International WorldSkills Competition will be held in Leipzig, Germany in 2013. It’s a fantastic event for everyone, I think especially for the young students to see first-hand what options/ opportunities there are for their career ahead. Visit highly recommended!

14 Comments »

  1. Hi Tamami, thanks for sharing the sugar craft photos. I always admire sugar craft looks amazing and beautiful.
    Happy New Year to you and family. Wishing you stay young and pretty and in best of health.
    Greetings from Malaysia.
    Warm regards
    Amelia

    Comment by Amelia - December 31, 2011 2:24 am

  2. Amelia! Wow! What a quick response!
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    Thank you very much!!!! Have a fun-filled New Years Eve Amelia! I wonder, is there a traditional thing to do for New Years Eve in Malaysia? In Japan, we eat soba (buck wheat noodle) just before midnight, to bring longevity just like that of the noodle.
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    May 2012 be just as bright, fulfilling year for you!
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    All the best, Tamami xx

    Comment by tamami - December 31, 2011 2:43 am

  3. You could definitely participate in that event..you have amazing skills!! I wish you all the best for 2012: healthy and happy family, lots of laughter and lots of creativity :)

    Comment by Caroline - December 31, 2011 7:51 am

  4. WOW!!. It’s me ,it’s me!!. Thank you so much , Tamami-san.
    I hope this coming year is as prosperous as ever for you and your family.
    toyomi

    Comment by Toyomi - December 31, 2011 2:12 pm

  5. Hi Tamami, we have no particulars traditional thing to do in New Year eve. Malaysia is a multiracial country, each races got their own New Year celebration.

    We Chinese celebrate Lunar Chinese New Year which fall on the 23rd Jan 2012. On New Year eve we will have family reunion dinner.
    Regards
    Amelia

    Comment by Amelia - December 31, 2011 3:30 pm

  6. Caroline!! How sweet of you to say that! That’s truly touching! Thank you! :) Wishing you all the best Caroline for 2012 – may the new year bring you lots of joy! T xx
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    Toyomi san, yes! Finally I managed to write about you here! Many many thanks for being there, & I truly hope to see you again in the near future! 明けましておめでとうございます。2012年もとよみさんにとって素敵な年になりますように。
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    Amelia, thanks for getting back! :) I hope you had an amazing New Year’s Eve & Day!! And please enjoy your reunion dinner on 23rd! Warmest regards, Tamami xx

    Comment by Tamami - December 31, 2011 8:29 pm

  7. Tamami!!! Happy New Year! May the next year be a fab one for us all! :) I’m due in 3 weeks, eek!!! Soooooooooo excited!! :)) x x

    Comment by Jan - December 31, 2011 11:06 pm

  8. Btw I visited your twitter some time ago (I don’t use twitter myself so I’m not really au fait with it). Anyway I read your rec of the app Mogumon so I started playing it and I’ve been ADDICTED! LOL! I’ve collected all the mogumons now and I hope they update with another egg soon because I feel lost! Hahaha. Just thought I’d share :) x x x

    Comment by Jan - December 31, 2011 11:09 pm

  9. Jan! he he he!!! Regarding Mogumon, it makes me rather proud to have made another person so addicted to the game as I was! Tell me about it, the sense of loss when the game’s finished is quite devastating isn’t it?! He he…!! I also can’t delete the game from my phone in the hope that there is another egg update. (I presume you’ve done the golden one right?)
    - And as for your precious real-life egg in you, O>M>G! Only 3 weeks to go?? WOW! WOW! WOW! Well, I gave birth to both of mine 2 weeks early, so y’never know when now! Good Luck & safe delivery!!! I’ll look forward to hearing about your new baba, I’m soooo excited for you!!! Have a quiet New Years Day today Jan, take care, stay warm! Happy thoughts, love, t xx

    Comment by Tamami - January 1, 2012 1:14 am

  10. The red-fleshed apples sound fascinating! I admire craftspeople who can perform while being stared at. An audience makes everything so much harder, for me ;)

    Comment by petoskystone - January 2, 2012 1:48 pm

  11. This was an interesting post! I love to watch people who can do things that I can’t..facinating and inspiring, I think. And it is so nice that you could meet your friend in person finally, it must have felt a little surreal… I had to go look up Red Devil apples, as I love trying new types, and they seem to be only in the UK :( Ah well, c’est la vie! Maybe someday!

    Comment by Heidy - January 2, 2012 5:06 pm

  12. Hi Petoskystone, I thought so too about how the audience looking must be extra pressure & harder for them! Plus it’s a competition, so you’ve got the judges’ eyes staring at your movements too! Happy New Year!! May 2012 be wonderful, fulfilling year for you! xx
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    Heidy, hello! It indeed was fascinating to observe how these skilled people were in total concentration. As for the red-fleshed apples, I’ve never tried any either… Maybe I ought to buy a tree for my garden so one day I can send a box to you…!! Happy 2012!! xx

    Comment by tamami - January 2, 2012 10:40 pm

  13. no need to post this, I have followed your blog for a couple of years and will be in London Saturday the 14th and I was hoping to visit your stall! Will you be there? We are leaving on the 10th so please let me know if you can. Thanks!

    Comment by Shauna - January 3, 2012 8:46 am

  14. Helloo Shuana! Oh no…!!! I’m not working at the market til the end of the month…!!!!!! My first day back this year will be 28th January… I’m so sorry that I am going to miss you… x

    Comment by Tamami - January 3, 2012 11:43 am

 

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