Paula Stakelum, known as the ‘Princess of Pastries’ and executive head pastry chef at Ashford Castle, has reached the final eight in a worldwide patisserie competition and will represent Ireland at the final of the Valrhona C3 championships in New York next October. The C3 competition is a biennial event currently in its fifth year running.
The 32-year-old, a native from Thurles, Co Tipperary, won the Irish round of the Valrhona Irish national patisserie championship last May, on her third appearance in the competition. She trained in professional cookery at Cork IT and in culinary arts at GMIT in Galway, where she specialised in pastry. Paula learnt about every aspect of kitchen, sweet and savoury however it was when on a placement at The Ardilaun Hotel in Galway that she really became consumed by confectionary. She now works at the beautiful Ashford Castle since 2010.
On Thursday, she took part in a qualifying round at the Valrhona chocolate school in Versailles, Paris, where she had five and a half hours of skills tests including preparing a plated dessert and molded chocolate bonbons, using Manjari 64%, a dark couverture chocolate from the Valrhona Grand Cru de Terroir range.
Stakelum said she was emotional when announced as the winner. “I put my heart and soul into training, and I was so lucky to be given time and support by the amazing team I work with at Ashford Castle.”
For more on this prestigious competition, Visit: Valhrona C3