Local man a star among sugar set

(shanghai daily)
Updated: 2006-12-25 10:59

For many chefs, culinary competitions are a great way to express creative talent without the daily constraints of a commercial kitchen. However, after all the theatrics involved when seeking accolades and after all the medals have been dusted and hung on the mantle, a chef still has to show that he can handle the day-in, day-out bread-and-butter stuff without a hitch.

Anthony Qin, the pastry chef at St Regis Hotel Shanghai, has built up a solid collection of awards over the years. The duke of desserts has taken top honors at a number of prestigious events, including the Pastry World Cup in Singapore and the World Pastry Cup in Lyon, as well as a respectable finish representing China in the Bakery World Cup in Paris.

Last month, the 29-year-old picked up the Outstanding Chef Award as well as a gold medal in the Sugar Showpiece at the Eighth FHC International Culinary Arts Competition in Pudong.

"The standard of the (FHC) competition was as high as anywhere," said Qin. "I'm really proud to win this as well."

The local boy was previously based in Macau, but Shanghai gourmands had already picked up a faint murmuring of his talent. When he joined the St Regis in September, the question on many lips was if he could continue to demonstrate his famed sugar-pulling abilities while also handling the demands of such daily concerns as cookies, croissants and cakes.

Any doubt was put to rest on Wednesday when the hotel invited a few media to sample his basic sweets. His work for Danieli's included a lovely, creamy tiramisu which was as authentic as they come in this city, as was his freshly-baked pear and frangipane (almond sponge) tart with cinnamon cream.

At the lobby level in Sainti's all-day diner, Qin prepares a very special warm, sweet dumpling filled with chocolate caramel in an orange soup. The dish is similar to the local tang yuan, although the flavors and textures are more complex.

"The local palate for desserts is different," the young chef said. "Unlike the Japanese or Singaporeans, locals won't have sweets for breakfast."

Qin, who is currently single, explained that he is more focused on his career than his personal life at present. According to him, the art of pastry making lies not in the recipe but in individual skills, such as the way eggs are beaten.

His passion, however, remains in sugar. "It's very hard to do; it is almost like blowing glass."

Address: 889 Dongfang Road, Pudong
Tel: 021-5050-4567 ext. 6306


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