During two days of competition at the World Pastry Team Championships in Las Vegas, Team USA won best dégustation and second place overall in the challenge inspired by astrology and horoscopes. The All-American team of National Pastry Champions consisted of Team Captain, Chef Donald Wressell, and The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at City Colleges of Chicago's own, Chefs Scott Green, Joshua Johnson and, alternate, Della Gossett. After two years of preparation, including the qualifying National Pastry Team Championship in 2011, Team USA relished the level of international competition with top pastry chefs from five other countries and proudly represented the United States and the sponsors who supported them in a close match with First Place Overall winners, Team Japan, and Third Place winners, Team Netherlands.
The other competitors heralded from China, Mexico, and South Korea where they had to undergo intense training and competition in order to be selected to represent their country's best in pastry. The selection process for the World Pastry Championship began in 2010 when the event organizers culled pastry professionals from around the globe with impressive pedigrees and experience in competition. Much like the Olympics, each country held a qualifying round of National Pastry Team Championships to ensure that their best pastry chefs would be sent to compete on the international level.
Team USA's Captain, Chef Donald Wressell, is a seasoned pastry chef who has garnered national and international recognition throughout his nearly 30 years in the industry. Prior to joining the staff of The French Pastry School, his teammates had varied experiences that led them to this undertaking: Chef Scott Green, graduated The French Pastry School's L'Art de la Pâtisserie program and continued to gain experience at esteemed culinary establishments throughout the US; Chef Joshua Johnson received his training at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago under co-founder of The French Pastry School, Sébastien Canonne, M.O.F.; and, the team's alternate, Chef Della Gossett was the Executive Pastry Chef at the legendary restaurant, Charlie Trotter's, for ten years. Together in 2011, this collective of chefs made history by winning the National Pastry Team Championships and thus earning the honor to become the first all American-born team to represent the United States in the World Pastry Championships.
Almost immediately after winning that title, the chefs began training for the event that would have them competing on an international stage. As in the National Championship, the chefs played to their individual strengths while working as a team and with coaches to create a cohesive presentation. Chef Stéphane Glacier, M.O.F. consulted on workmanship and sugar technique while Chef Stéphane Leroux, M.O.F. gave special attention to artistry and chocolate work. With their input, Chef Johnson and Green went through dozens of versions of their respective chocolate and sugar showpieces while simultaneously working on tasting items with Chef Wressell. Throughout the process, team alternate, Chef Gossett cross-trained on all aspects of the competition and assisted in planning the logistics so everything would run smoothly for her teammates.
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