Meet Team USA!
After training and working together for over a year, 2015 team USA presented one of the most remarkable chocolate entremets at the Coupe du Mond de la Pattiserie. The team was represented by Victor Dagatan, Kitchen Artist at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead, Atlanta, who’s most visible task was carving the ice sculpture, Rabii Saber, Executive Pastry Chef at the Four Seasons, Orlando, who handled creating the chocolate showpiece and Team Captain, Bill Foltz, Executive Pastry Chef at L’Auberge Casino Resort who created the sugar showpiece.
When Bill Foltz competed in the 2011 Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, his work was awarded “Best Sugar Showpiece”. I spoke to Bill before the competition and asked him why he was coming back to compete. He explained that in Lyon he experienced pastry as part of the French lifestyle. Surrounded by the rich heritage and all the chef luminaries supporting the success of the contestants, Chef Foltz was moved by how deeply the pastry heritage ran.
After years of excelling in the field and winning competitions, Bill is looking to give back and share his knowledge with the next generation. His advice to anyone looking to compete: “If you have the desire, you have to pick up the sugar, chocolate… whatever grabs you and actually do it. Just put yourself out there, give it a try.” Confidence comes with experience and a lot of practice.
This leads to my next question for Bill; How did the team come up with their flavors, ones that represent ‘America’ while appealing to judges from all over the world? Bill laughed, “We’ve all tapped into our own heritage; Rabii with his French trained, Moroccan background, Victor with his Philippine tradition and my own Native American customs. We were really exploring our picture of what is American Flavor and our pallet’s evolution.” When I tasted Team USA’s exquisite entremet, I was filled with pride to be represented by our team in Lyon.
Making a Great Team
It takes more than just skill and aspiration to make it to the team. Passion, a desire to master techniques and the support of family and employers can make a big difference. This year’s team was hand selected and made for great personality matches. Bill and Victor are wired visually; they imagine what they want and work backwards to create it. Rabii, in contrast, is methodical; technically driven and very strong on flavor
Gilles Renusson is the Team Manager and driving force of the U.S. Pastry Team. Along with Head Coach Roy Pell, Team Coach Christophe Fayte, and assistants Robert Nieto, Nicholas Chevrieux and Julie Eslinger, Team USA 2017 Coupe du Monde was positioned for success. Their hard work put them in fourth place out of 21 teams.