Every even-numbered year the World Pastry Team Championship is held for teams of pâtissiers from around the world to compete at their art. Over the two days in which the event is held the teams have a total of 13 hours to complete a number of desserts as well as two showpieces, one made of chocolate and one of candy, that represent that year’s theme.
Last year, the Japanese team took the championship for the first time. Now, almost a year later, Japanese media has picked up the story once again to introduce a new piece of information that has sparked international debate: it is thought that during the competition, the Korean team internationally left the Japanese team’s refrigerator door open to ruin their pastries.
The incident was revealed on a Japanese variety program that introduces video footage from around the world. According to the video recording shown on the program, when the Japanese team went to remove their ice-cream-based pastries they had put in the refrigerator to keep cool, the ice cream had melted and the pastries were deformed.
It seemed that even though the Japanese and Korean teams were using the same refrigerator, the Korean team had neglected to close the door after using it, causing the ice cream in the Japanese team’s pastries to melt.
The video continues to show footage of one of the judges, enraged, speaking with the Korean team: “Your team has been working with the refrigerator door left open intentionally. If you fail to properly shut the door again, we will consider it interference with the Japanese team and will not hesitate to deduct points.”
Asking why the Korean team would do this, the footage then cuts to an interview with the smirking captain of the Korean team before the incident started: “We’re aiming for this championship for the sake of our country…if there’s one team we want to beat, it’s the Japanese.”
While the Korean team denies having left the door open intentionally, the YouTube page where the video was uploaded has been flooded with comments criticizing the Korean team and claiming this is just another example of Korea’s anti-Japanese sentiment.
Nevertheless, the Japanese team was able to get back on their feet quickly and actually integrated the melted ice cream into the dish’s presentation. After the final judging it was announced that Japan had come in first, and afterwards one of the members from the three-person team commented that the incident only served to increase the group’s solidarity.
Incidentally, 2nd and 3rd place were taken by the American and Italian teams. If the Korean team really did intentionally try to interfere with the Japanese, it seems that it didn’t pay off well for them: they came in 6th.