Olivier Saintemarie, pastry chef for the restaurants and bakery at the France pavilion in Epcot, has been chosen to serve on Pastry Team USA for La Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie (World Pastry Cup) to be held in 2019 in Lyon, France.
Saintmarie was chosen following a two-day competition held at Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College earlier this week. Participants competed in both sugar chocolate contests to create centerpieces and chocolate cakes. Saintemarie was in the chocolate category; his centerpiece is pictured at top.
Saintemarie, left, found his passion for pastries and baking at age 11 at his uncle's Paris boulangerie. “I was fascinated with the dough mixing, the different processes and all the products you could make with simple but quality ingredients,” Saintemarie said in his profile on the Team USA website.
He found his way to Orlando via Disney Cruise Line, first working on the first two ships, Magic and Wonder, as executive pastry chef.
However, his first position in Central Florida was with a French bakery that eventually merged with Douce France Bakery in Winter Garden.
He joined the James Bocuse-owned operation at Epcot "four or five years ago," said executive chef Bruno Vrignon. He oversees a team of 35 preparing the bread and pastries for Les Halles Bakery shop, Les Chefs de France, the 220-seat Brasserie style restaurant, Monsieur Paul, the 110-seat fine dining and L’Artisan des Glaces, the artisan style ice cream shop.
Saintemarie was honored last month along with Stefan Riemer, executive pastry chef for the Culinary Development team at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, pictured at right, in Dessert Professional magazine's annual list of Top 10 pastry chefs in America.
Another of Central Florida's well-decorated pastry chefs, Laurent Branlard, below, of Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, served as a judge for the Team USA competition this week. Branlard is the only person to win the World Pastry Team Championship twice.
So Central Florida is certainly baking!