For this year’s prestigious Salon Culinaire competition, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) patisserie student, Laura Dicken, produced a chocolate treat and won a Silver Award.
Salon Culinaire, renamed to Salon Virtual for this year, is an internationally renowned catering competition, with chefs, professionals and students from all over the world. In previous years, RuTC students took home many medals in categories such as butchering, knife skills, starters and more. Last year, Laura, NVQ Level 3 Advanced Patisserie student, competed at Salon Culinaire in the birthday cake category and received a silver medal. This year, she entered the Cacao Barry Lockdown Pastry Challenge, Cacao Barry being the sponsor and providing different flavours of chocolate for the competition. For the entry, Laura had to ‘create and prepare four pieces of an original chocolate-based snack item, suitable to be sold online and delivered by postal means’.
For the creation of her entry, Laura said, “I was intrigued by the Zephyr caramel which is a smooth caramelised white chocolate and chose to use this as the central flavour for my creation. Tapping into the nostalgia and indulgence trends, I created a twist on the classic marshmallow teacake. This caramel S'mores version had a gooey brownie base using Cacao Barry's Ghana chocolate and a Zephyr caramel ganache made with coconut cream which was then topped with marshmallow fluff and encased in a tempered Zephyr caramel dome splattered with Ghana chocolate.” For her entry, Laura won a Silver Award.
Before studying Patisserie at RuTC, Laura worked in food PR, so she already had an insight into the food service industry. However, she wanted to pursue a more hands on role and says, “I decided the best way would be to gain some qualifications first and as an avid baker, patisserie was the perfect fit. Since starting the course I've secured my dream job, managing AllSaints Coffee Shop in Leatherhead, a social enterprise café that trains up local young people. The course has given me the confidence to start baking the majority of our cakes in house and passing valuable skills on to my team.“