GRCC Hosts Tryouts for Prestigious World Pastry Cup Team

Grand Rapids Community College's Secchia Institute for Culinary Education (SICE) will host the World Pastry Cup U.S. Team Tryouts (La Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie) on Saturday, April 21. La Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie (the World Pastry Cup) is the world's most prestigious pastry competition. Eight of the best pastry chefs in the United States will be vying for a spot on the team.

Each team features three specialists – a sugar artist, a chocolate artist and an ice carver – and each one participates in the creation of all the desserts. “This competition has been a great inspiration to our industry. Competitions are the research and development arm of our industry, and U.S. pastry chefs have greatly benefitted from the experience, recipes, and general resources that previous members have shared with the industry,” said GRCC Professor and Certified Master Pastry Chef Gilles Renusson.

Chef Renusson currently serves as President of the U.S. Pastry World Cup team. Teams have eight hours to craft a variety of items depending on the category in which they are competing: a chocolate torte, a plated dessert, ice carving, and a sugar or chocolate centerpiece. Seated at the judges’ table this year will be:

  • Ewald Notter , (President of the Judges) World Pastry Cup Champion in 2001 and founder of Notter School of Pastry Arts.
  • Kerry Vincent, wedding cake artist, author and judge of Food Network Challenge television show.
  • Randy Finch, of Ice Sculptures, Inc. and the Food Network show “The Ice Brigade.” (Also a past advisor to Team USA).
  • Derek Maxfield, Ice Sculptures, Inc. and the Food Network show “The Ice Brigade.” (Also a past advisor to Team USA).
  • Luba Petrash, GRCC Ice Carving Team Coach and professional ice carving competitor.
  • Robin Van Rooyen, GRCC Visual Arts Professor and past advisor to Team USA.
  • Nick Antonakis, GRCC Visual Arts Professor and past advisor to Team USA.

The public is invited to watch these artisans work their magic in pastry, chocolate and sugar from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday; the completed works will be on display from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.  A reception begins at 6:30 p.m. with the award ceremony at 7:30 p.m.  Please visit for more information.

Daniel Gendler, Department Head of the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education, sees the event as a tremendous learning opportunity for GRCC students. “This is an amazing event for us because it allows dozens of our students to work side by side with the country’s greatest pastry artists, with some of them even being hands-on apprentices to the stars,” he said. “And it has allowed the SICE to widen its network and provide employment opportunity to some of our students.”

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.