17-year-old Unaisa Hussein triumphs in final for The Chefs’ Forum award
Unaisa Hussein, a 17-year-old student from Leicester College has won The Chefs’ Forum, Young Pastry Chef of the Year 2021 award. Unaisa beat seven other finalists from colleges across the UK, each creating their own entremet concept, live in a competition environment at West London College in Hammersmith, London.
Unasia is a Patisserie and Confectionery Diploma Level 3 student at Leicester College. The challenge required the students to produce a chocolate-inspired entremet consisting of at least four layers, using a chosen chocolate from a range of five. Unaisa impressed the team of top industry judges with her ‘Tropical Entremet’, incorporating Valrhona white Opalys chocolate, passion fruit, mango and coconut.
Unasia said: “This is the first competition I have ever entered and to win it is absolutely incredible. It has been an honour to be a part of this competition, especially being a finalist. It was a difficult challenge as all of the other finalists were brilliant and produced some spectacular entremets despite tough conditions and to have won against such strong competitors feels really special. I’m also extremely happy to receive a KitchenAid stand mixer from Mitchell & Cooper, as I have always wanted one and can’t wait to start using it!”
Unasia’s lecturer at Leicester College, Dan Murphy was delighted to have accompanied her to the final, he said: “This is a fantastic achievement, and I am so very proud of Unasia. It was great to share her success with her family who came with us today. The competition was really inspirational, extremely well-organised and a wonderful experience for all involved.
“It was great to visit West London College and meet students and teaching peers from other colleges – I am really excited for Unasia and the world class culinary journey ahead of her as she embarks upon her rotational stage across the judges’ kitchens.”
Chair of judges, Jamie Houghton of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and President of the UK Pastry Team said: “The students were absolutely amazing today and the standard of work was sensational. There could only be one winner, however all eight finalists will embark on a rotational stage around the judges’ kitchens to give them the best opportunity of showcasing their skills and acquiring new ones from the best pastry chef talent in the country. I just want to say a huge thank you to everybody who entered and supported the competition and very much look forward to accompanying our winner, Unasia Hussein to Valrhona HQ in France as her prize once restrictions are lifted – she has a very bright future ahead of her, I’m sure.”
The Chefs’ Forum 2021 Young Pastry Chef of the Year Competition 2021 is a brand- new pastry event for aspiring student chefs. It was open to students on culinary programmes at level 2 and 3, and the students were aged between 16 and 21 years old at the point of entry.
An expert panel was formed to judge ‘The Entremet Challenge’ including:
- Jamie Houghton – Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and President of the UK Pastry Team
- Luke Frost – Valrhona
- Chris Underwood – Belmond Cadogan Hotel
- Thibault Hauchard- Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester
- Michael Kwan – Hotel Café Royal
- Daniel Pearse – The Savoy