Looking forward to the UK & Ireland pre-selections for WCM 2017 with Barry Johnson


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). The competition is just around the corner, so we are checking how the preparations are going.  Today we are talking to Barry Johnson.

There are only a few weeks to the UK WCM. How do you feel?

It has arrived so quickly, but I work best with the pressure of a deadline so I am very focused right now.

How are you preparations going?

There have been some ups and downs, but it's all starting to come together really nicely now.

What is most challenging?

There's one element of my showpiece which has proved to be difficult to pull off - plan B is long gone...plan F is proving to be more successful!

What went easier than you thought?

Nothing has been as straightforward as I would have wanted, but the competition is about pushing the boundaries; if I was finding that easy I probably wouldn’t have been pushing myself hard enough.

Are you getting lots of support from your colleagues and other people? Is there anybody you would like to thank especially?

I have had some amazing support from students in the engineering department at London South Bank University where I'm based. Some industry friends having been so generous with their time and of course my family, which is, as always, a constant source of strength and inspiration.

Are you enjoying the theme Futropolis?

The theme was one of the reasons I was so inspired to enter the competition. I have really enjoyed exploring disciplines at the forefront of innovation, which are shaping how our future will look with new technologies, materials and thinking.

How is it inspiring you?

I'm so excited to be playing a small part in bringing new innovation to the chocolate industry. To be able to showcase new thinking and techniques on a national stage is a great privilege.

What is your vision for the future of desserts?

Driven by consumers, I think there will be more distinction: desserts will become either more decadent or healthier - there will be less 'in the middle'. 

Is there anything in the pastry world today that you dislike?

The shortage of skilled pasty chefs in the U.K. is a worry and the impact of Brexit is yet to be felt.

How would you make it better?

As a lecturer at the National Bakery School I aim to make my students confident in their abilities so they are ready for a lifetime working in the chocolate and pastry world.

What have you learnt through your journey to this competition?

Working alone is hard; I’m used to working in a team for competitions. Maintaining focus and positivity when things are not going to plan is more difficult when you’re in the kitchen alone. My loved ones have really helped push me through those tough moments.

Are you ready to win?

I'm taking it one day at a time and not thinking too far ahead. The journey to this point has been an amazing experience. But winning would be the icing on the cake!