2023 Pastry World Cup, French Bakery Cup and Bocuse d’Or: Themes and tests revealed

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Some of the world's most prestigious pastry competitions are gearing up to take the spotlight in January 2023. Pic: GettyImages/chihatatheken
Some of the world's most prestigious pastry competitions are gearing up to take the spotlight in January 2023. Pic: GettyImages/chihatatheken

Related tags Pastry World Cup Coupe du Monde da la Patisserie French Bakery Cup Bocuse d'Or Pastry Competition Sirha Lyon Pierre Herme

Climate change, space exploration and educating kids on healthy eating choices are the themes for the 2023 editions of the prestigious Coupe du Monde da la Pâtisserie, French Bakery Cup and Bocuse d'Or, taking place at Sirha Lyon January.

For the past 30 years, the Pastry World Cup – has been renowned as one of the industry’s most prestigious events. More than just a competition, it is a real revolution that brings the art of pastry to a whole new level, mobilising pastry chefs from around the world by giving them the opportunity to present their talent, their technique and their culture.

More than 50 countries are currently undergoing the national and continental selection process, whittling down to 20 taking part in the Grand Finale at on 20 and 21 January at Sirha Lyon in Lyon France.

World Pastry Cup Italy test
One of the creations by the Italian team, which won the 2021 World Pastry Cup

The three-(wo)man teams – comprising an ice cream specialist, a sugar expert and a chocolate maker – have 10 hours to create 42 tasting desserts and three haute cuisine pieces under the theme of ‘Climate Change’.

Sustainability is at the heart of the 18th​ edition of Coupe du Monde da la Pâtisserie, encouraging changes in the sector that, like others, is facing current ecological and societal issues.

As an influencer, the Pastry World Cup makes it a point of honour to promote a more sustainable, responsible and environmentally friendly pastry.

This approach is reflected in the ban on using additives and colouring agents in all tests; the choice of raw materials selected from partners who are concerned about controlling their origins and production methods; and also by the evaluation during the competition of the consistency between the weighing and the recipes sent by the teams.

Waste sorting is compulsory and all the products processed and used during the two days of competition will be donated to food banks and charities working to help those in need.

The teams must be able to demonstrate having implemented concrete actions from the get-go, and communicate them to the International Organising Committee (IOC). One team will be awarded the special eco-responsible prize.

“The world pastry industry is at a crossroads. It has arguably never been more attentive about taste [and the product’s backstory] than about appearance,”​ said Pierre Hermé, world renowned pastry chef and chocolatier, and president of the Coupe du Monde da la Pâtisserie.

“To successfully navigate this change of era and paradigm – at the same instant when confectionery is reaching the height of popularity on social networks and prime time TV – the Pastry World Cup needs to embrace a more socially and environmentally responsible approach.”

Tasting desserts:

  • Three whole cakes, incorporating Valrhona’s Pure Origine’ chocolate
  • Three frozen desserts containing Capfruit fruit purées
  • Another 26 must centre around frozen lollipops (this was a new test introduced last year). The only constraint is to stay within the finger food concept, meaning the treats can be eaten in a single bite.
  • 10 restaurant-style desserts – first introduced for the 2021 finale – that include Debic dairy products.
Pastry Chef Sirha Lyon

Artistic pieces:

  • One chocolate artistic piece with a 165cm base.
  • One sugar artistic piece with 165cm base.
  • One sculpted ice creation with a 50cm base.

Winners will be judged throughout the proceedings, and the Award Ceremony takes place on Saturday, 21 January at 5:30pm CET.

French Bakery Cup

The Sirha Bake & Pastry stage is also gearing up for the 16th​ edition of the French Bakery Cup.

Twelve teams of three bakers – all from the same region – will compete over three days, tasked with four trials in different categories:

  • bread
  • viennoiseries
  • artistic buffet
  • bakery food test (snacking)

The winner will be presented with the French Bakery Cup

The theme for this year’s edition is ‘The conquest of space’.

World Pastry Cup UK

Feed the kids

Meanwhile, the Grand Finale of the Bocuse d’Or takes place on 22 and 23 January during Sirha Lyon, and, instead of the historical plate contest – this year puts education and young people in the spotlight.

Twenty-four teams from around the world will be given five-and-a-half hours to complete two menus centred around healthy eating, but more specifically to raise awareness among children about the link between health and food, and the importance of better-for-you choices.

The first contest is the creation of a platter that features monkfish and other seafood products. The second contest takes the form of an entire vegetarian menu – based on squash – for a young audience.

Several squash varieties will be provided by competition partner Metro to create a 100% vegetarian cold starter; a hot dish that includes egg; and a restaurant-style dessert.

The candidates will have to redouble their creativity, play with textures and flavours to convince the judging panel, which will comprise of chefs and children from around the world.

“The Bocuse d’Or seeks, above all, to be in tune with current social issues,” ​said Régis Marcon, president of the International Organising Committee (IOC) of the Bocuse d’Or.

“After the take-away theme in 2021, we decided to highlight education in ‘healthy eating’ for children. Our first tastes are formed at an early age, so culinary education is therefore a key issue in which chefs play a central role.”

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