Greetings Competitors!

Welcome to our second edition of Uncommon Sense – Competition Tips from Champions.

Over the past decade, The Chicago School of Mold Making has developed hundreds of custom silicone molds with many of the best chefs in the industry. We are also present with them during the actual international events, gleaning a wealth of knowledge from our talented friends. When it comes to sharing information gained by experience, our collaborators have much to offer. As the time draws near for another exciting year of Pastry Live, we thought it important to share tips from past champion competitors.

The second in our series of competition tips, we proudly present Daniel Keadle, the 2012 National Showpiece Champion, Pastry Chef at The Phoenician Resort, Scottsdale. Here some observations he has to share…

Uncommon Sense – with Daniel Keadle

Adaptability is very important as well as having a position where you are challenged with a variety tasks. It’s a great confidence builder. And it’s a really good way to polish your skills and forces you to master the basics. You have to master your medium, then have the freedom to adapt.
1. Start to conceptualize early, allow for the evolution of the design.

2. Go out on a limb and seek inspiration from unusual sources. Jewelry design houses and special effects companies are some of my favorites. (Bulgari and Stan Winston School of Character Arts.)

3. Establish your color palette early and stick to it. If you have difficulty in this area, look at color combinations of pro sports teams, fortune 500 companies, and iconic product lines. These folks spend fortunes on this type of stuff. Use it to your advantage.

4. Choose a partner or assistant that lives in the same state, or better yet, same city.

5. For me in particular, I like to do an early run without templates or sketches. The creative process can be stronger for me this way.

6. Listen to that voice in your head telling you to re-design a component or make an improvement to the overall piece, even if it causes more work and time. You will be glad you did.

7. Know the rules better than the judges.

8. Use the rules to your advantage without breaking them.

9. Go with the flow- have a very clean idea but know when you need to adapt.
practice more and be really comfortable with the process.

10. Create your own molds.

11. Always bring something new to the table. Creative use of tools is another way to stand out.

12. Visualize the showpiece in the display area where you will be judged, you want more presence and more impact than your competitors.

13. Limit final assembly of the piece to 2 hours of less. You will lose focus and make more mistakes if you don’t.

14. If you are going to be staying at a hotel room, don’t plan on doing lots fabrication. If you blow a breaker late at night, then what??? Don’t use a heat lamp, microwave oven and fan all at once. This is what I did and blew a breaker at 11 at night at The Grand Hyatt NY.

15. During the competition, if you’ve practiced there’s a good chance you’ll go into a focused tunnel vision like trance.

16. Represent your property, and your team with dignity and respect. If something does not go right, maintain composure.

Once you win, you’ll want to compete again. There is a joy to pushing yourself to continue to challenge yourself… to be the best. Winning a competition like Pastry Live is great not just for the prize, title and publicity. It’s also great for your résumé and opens doors to further your career.”

In case you missed Uncommon Sense- with Andy Chlebana follow the link. Stay tuned as next time we share Uncommon Sense with Maura Metheny, our Pastry Live 2013 National Showpiece Champion.