At the age of 27, Paul Occhipinti, Pastry Sous-Chef at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, wins the title of “Meilleur Ouvrier de France Chocolatier-Confiseur”.
Paul is proud to receive this high distinction at the official ceremony taking place on 13thMay 2019 at La Sorbonne in Paris from the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer. After the ceremony all the “Meilleurs Ouvriers de France” will meet the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, for a speech in their honour at the Palais de L’Elysée.
The “Meilleur Ouvrier de France Chocolatier-Confiseur” competition brings together the best artisans of their generation to compete against each other in enticing and titanic feats. The kings of chocolate and confectionery are honing all their technical prowess to win the supreme title of Best Craftsman of France in the ‘Chocolate maker and confectioner’ category and the prestigious ‘red, white and blue’ collar.
“Meilleur Ouvrier de France”(M.O.F) is a title approved by the French National Ministry of Education and awarded only in France. It is organised into trade categories, in which professionals compete. So far, only 19 masters have won this famous ‘sesame’ award. The competition, created in 1990, is held every three years under the tutelage of the Confederation of chocolate makers and confectioners of France and the COET (Professional Exhibition Organising Committee). The jury is made up of business leaders, former M.O.Fs and professionals teaching in this specific field. Participants must be at least 23 years old and must have gone through the regional qualifications.
In 2018, ten candidates have attempted to win the title of “Meilleur Ouvrier de France Chocolatier-Confiseur”. Paul Occhipinti is the youngest candidate to reach the final of this prestigious event which has taken place in Albi, south-west of France, from 4 to 7 October 2018. The candidates’ techniques, innovation, aesthetics, efficiency and taste were marked through various tests.
The final tests are as follows:
. One 75% cacao ganache
. One aromatic fusion ganache
. One piece of fruit gum confectionary
. One vegan chocolate
. One innovative sweet
. One 100% cereal praline
. One triple-textured sweet
. One fruit fondant
. One rock sugar creation
. One innovative lollipop
. One Nemer-style Negus
. One large chocolate centrepiece (and a miniature copy) without the use of moulds.
Preparing for the competition requires a year of work, with six months gearing up for the final, which has a set theme. This event lasts 27 hours and is held over three days.
“My passion for confectionery and chocolate started at the age of 16, after I met Mr Christian Camprini, M.O.F ‘Chocolatier-Confiseur’ in 2004”, Paul explains.
After completing a work-study BEP in Cagnes-sur-Mer, followed by a BTM (practical baccalaureate) in Saint-Laurent du Var on the French Riviera, he began his professional experience in Florence, Italy.
In 2014, Paul joined the teams at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Oetker Collection property, as pastry sous-chef, alongside head pastry chef Lilian Bonnefoi, who provided great support for his participation in the contest.
Paul is today and officially “Meilleur Ouvrier de France Chocolatier-Confiseur”. All the teams at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc are proud of him and wish him great success for the future.