Cacao Barry presents UK WCM contestant: Martin Chiffers
Six great, super talented pastry chefs and chocolatiers will this year compete in the UK pre-selection for the international competition of the World Chocolate Masters (WCM). Six people with a deep knowledge of chocolate, with skills of real masters and limitless creativity will compete together and against each other. Who will be the best? This week we are introducing the first contestant: Martin Chiffers.
You are taking part in the national competition for WCM. Was this decision maturing slowly or was it a spontaneous decision?
It is something I have been thinking about since 2013. After I coached Ruth Hinks I really wanted to compete myself in 2015 but I was too busy with The UK Pastry Team and my business.
Is this your first pastry/chocolate competition or have you already competed somewhere else?
I have participated in many competitions already - national and international - I am not counting my medals anymore. I have probably 30 or 40 of them.
Competitions are hard work but very rewarding, and I am not talking only about medals but the journey itself - you are motivated to learn new things and you meet many great people on the way.
What was your main motive for participating in the UK WCM?
For me it's all about my own development. We never stop learning, but if you don't push yourself to do things and set goals that are bold enough to scare you, but at the same time inspiring and exciting enough for you to commit 100%, you will never grow as much as you could. By doing competitions you will find out that the reward is beyond or on the other side of fear.
Did you already start your preparations?
The hardest part is starting and I have many challenges with balancing work and personal life but yes I have started.
Are you training alone or is anybody helping you?
I will train myself but many friends have offered to help me on this journey, Ruth Hinks will also support me in return for me supporting her in 2013 and my assistant Samira Kazemzadeh will be of a great support too.
What are you finding most challenging?
I don't have my own kitchen. I am working as a consultant so I am always traveling, but I am looking to secure a work unit and get that kitted out.
You are very busy also with your regular work, how do you manage to find time for the preparations?
That is very difficult sometimes. I need to work of course and have regular contracts in the UK and overseas with classes in the UK, Germany, India and Korea this year. Finding balance is always hard when making this type of commitment and I can't just stop working and looking after my family.
What do you think are your strongest points for this competition?
I guess I am a good all-rounder and have skills in all areas. Also I have worked and lived in Asia for 12 years so I have a good knowledge of different cultures and tastes.
Which part of the competition are you looking forward to the most and is there anything you wish you could skip?
I love making showpieces - that’s my real passion. 3D printing instead - well it’s good but I think it should be more about hand work and not about printing and making moulds. it's also not cheap but I guess this is the future.
A cheeky question: Why do you think you should win this competition?
I don't think I should win it at all, but of course I would love to win it and will do my best.
I am not entering just to win it for me - it is about representing the UK Pastry Chefs and developing myself in something I love and inspire to be better at.
And if you would win, what would this win mean to you and what will be the next challenge you will take?
If I win the UK selection then my life really is going to be busier than ever, of course it will be rewarding for me to win in many ways.